Canine Cancer Life Expectancy

Cancer can be a devastating diagnosis for any dog owner to hear.
Cancer can be a devastating diagnosis for any dog owner to hear. (Image: Image by, courtesy of Frédéric DUPONT)

Having a canine companion diagnosed with cancer can be difficult for any dog owner, but cancer is not always a death sentence. However, the dog owner should understand that several factors can affect their dog’s life expectancy.


The type of cancer can greatly affect the life expectancy of the dog. Types include stomach or bladder cancer, oral cancer and lymphoma.


Cancers or tumors that are easily accessible (and thus easily treated or removed) can often lead to a longer life expectancy, just as inaccessible (or inoperable) cancers can decrease the life expectancy.


For some dogs, cancer treatments such as surgical removal, chemotherapy or cryosurgery can increase the canine’s life expectancy anywhere from a few weeks up to a few years.


Cancers that have a high rate of spreading (metastasis) can greatly reduce the overall life expectancy of a dog. Cancers that metastasize often spread into the lungs, bones or the liver, but any cancer has the potential to spread anywhere in the body.


Holistic care, such as switching to a diet free of chemicals, pesticides and preservatives, may help prolong the life expectancy of the dog. However, this choice is solely up to the dog owner.

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