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Cancer Goes to the Dogs - Group Asks Marylanders to "Puppy Up"

PHOTO: Every year, hundreds of thousands of dogs and cats are diagnosed with cancer. Image by  Royalty-Free/Corbis
PHOTO: Every year, hundreds of thousands of dogs and cats are diagnosed with cancer. Image by Royalty-Free/Corbis
November 2, 2012

LA PLATA, Md. – Man's best friend could be man's best hope for a cancer cure. The group 2 Million Dogs is raising awareness about canine cancer, and connections to human cancers, through its "Puppy Up" campaign.

The group will stage a walk this weekend (Sun., Nov. 4) in Charles County in south central Maryland.

2 Million Dogs executive director Ginger Morgan says pets are exposed to many of the same environmental risks as people, and there's hope for animal and human cancer patients.

"There are treatments for animals and people, obviously with cancer. But we just want them to know that it's not a death sentence when they hear the word cancer."

Morgan says the "Puppy Up" campaign is intended to raise awareness about comparative oncology. The idea is that research that helps pets can help people, too - although the group discourages animal testing.

What works to treat dogs doesn't always work for people, and vice versa, explains Morgan.

"Dogs don't necessarily react to those treatments like people do."

Morgan says researchers have documented cases where humans have benefited from limb-sparing techniques developed for dogs.

Deborah Courson Smith/Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - MD