Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 23rd 2018 Contents TODD M.J. DENOON DVM
Cancer is a word that still strikes
fear into the hearts of many
people. Within the veterinary
community, this fear is often
mixed with confusion around
the fact that cancer can occur
in animals. Today we address
cancer, its common forms and
Cancer is the broad term
given to disease conditions
resulting from the unchecked
multiplication and spread of
abnormal cells in the body.
These cells can originate from
practically any cell type - bone,
skin, fat, blood cells, internal
organs etc, and these swellings
are called tumours. Tumours are
broadly categorised based on
their behaviours as either benign
or malignant. Benign growths
tend to grow slowly, resemble
their original cells or tissue, fail
to invade surrounding tissues and
remain in a fixed location without
spreading. Malignant tumours
tend to grow rapidly, look less
like their original cell or tissue,
are invasive and spread to distant
sites. Malignant tumours are
But what causes cancers?
Genetics, physiology and the
environment all come together to
regulate cell and tissue function
and therefore influence cell and
tissue dysfunction However,
despite the many contributing
factors, there are specific causal
links for certain types of cancer.
For example, reproductive
hormones significantly influence
breast cancers in pets and
therefore spaying reduces the
The diagnosis of cancer often
begins with a suspicious lump,
but cancers can also appear as
erosions, discolourations or not
appear at all if they originate
in internal organs. The breed,
reproductive status and age of the
animal are important as well, as
cancers tend to occur in certain
breeds and in older animals.
For lumps, cells may be taken
using a needle for cytology (cell
study) or piece of tissue may
be removed for histopathology
(abnormal tissue study). For
ulcers and erosions on the
skin, impression smears with
a microscope slide are often
taken. Once the clinician has a
strong suspicion that it is in fact
cancer, samples may be taken
from nearby lymph nodes and
x-rays may be recommended to
ascertain spread. This is called
staging – a system that looks at
the size and spread of a tumour.
Once a tentative or definitive
diagnosis is reached, and staging
is done, treatment options
are considered. Some cancers
respond well to surgical removal,
and others do not. Many times
treatment involves a cocktail
of drugs – chemotherapy, the
use of radiation – radiotherapy,
+/- surgery. Chemo and
radiotherapy are often done at
special hospitals, as they require
special training to safely handle
and administer. Unfortunately,
depending on the stage of the
cancer, treatment may not be
viable and palliative care and
euthanasia are the best options.
For any further information
about cancer contact us at
the Tobago Animal Hospital
at 868 239-7837. Find us at
50 Government House Road,
opposite President’s House.
Also, for the month of March,
the Hospital is offering 10 per
cent discounts on boarding and
hospitalisation of pet animals.
Call for more information.
Our economy is built on the
foundation of small businesses:
please support local enterprise.
Friday, March 23, 2018
Canaan/Bon Accord revives pitching marbles
The village of Canaan/Bon
Accord will come alive on Good
Friday this year, as it takes a trip
down memory lane with the
sixth edition of the ‘fun-petitive’
Marble Pitching Competition at
the Frank Roberts Recreational
Park, Milford Court, Bon Accord.
Speaking at the launch at
the Magdalena Grande Beach
Resort recently, co-ordinator of
the event Bernard Henry said it
would accelerate the revival of
marble pitching on island.
“What we’re aiming to do is
not just a Good Friday event,
but we would really love thatThe
event is being hosted by the
Pitching Festival Committee at
th that event would be a filling
for continuous return to marble
pitching,” Henry said.
“Yes we’re in the electronic,
digital age, but children need
to be children again and one of
the things which kept many as
children, and we were children,
so on Good Friday we expect
good fun-petitive marble pitching.
“We expect people to have fun,
but we expect them to compete,
with fun being the greater part of
The event is also intended to
showcase various elements of
good marble pitching, such as
throw line, bokie and three-hole
just to name a few.
Magdalena Grand manager
Vinod Bajaj, acting Senior
Superintendent of Police Sterling
Roberts and Archdeacon Phillip
Isaac are not only expected
to attend the event, but will
showcase their skills against
Canaan/Bon-Accord and Tobago
best marble pitchers. A host of
prizes will be at stake.
Lumps, bumps and bruises – Could this be cancer?
Two Rottweillers are drawn to something.
Canaan resident Nigel Johnson shows his pitching skills.
... should I confess to
I work at a health
facility and found
out by accident that
my friend is very
sick and may die.
Her file came to my department
in error, so she does not know
that I am aware of her condition.
I learned about her poor health
roughly a month ago, but what has
me very troubled is that she has
not said a word to me. We have
been good friends for many years
so I am hurt that she obviously
does not think she should come to
me for support.
It is getting harder and harder
for me to hold my tongue. I would
like to find out more about what
she is going through and possible
ways that I could help. I could
see it eating away at her and even
her appearance has started to
change. However, whenever I
inquire about her health or make
a passing comment about her tired
appearance she brushes that aside
and says that she is fine.
I know that as a professional, I
cannot break confidentiality, but
as her friend I cannot stand by and
watch her carry this burden alone.
How should I approach this?
Dear Concerned Friend,
Don’t make this about you. I
can fully appreciate your love and
concern for your friend, but take
a step back from your feelings
and put yourself in her shoes for
a minute. She is going through a
tough time and more
than likely needs
time to process the
You have been
friends for quite
some time so you would know her
personality type and as such the
best way to approach the situation.
Without breaching confidentiality,
you could simply mention to her
that she seems more tired than
usual or not her usual self and
inquire whether something is
Additionally, even if she is still
not ready to share you can assist
her without letting on that you are
aware of her medical problem.
Start by sending encouraging
words perhaps via WhatsApp that
would bring her comfort without
being too specific. Do not send
her quotes about illness; rather
send ones about God’s grace, faith,
et cetera. Call to say “hi” more
often and just be more available in
The key is to love her through
her pain and let her know that she
could come to you at any time.
You can do this without knowing
the intricacies of the issue, and
you can certainly do this without
letting her know that you are
When she is ready and the time
is right, she would share. If she
chooses not to, then do not take
it personally, just empathise and
continue being a friend.
I wish her all the best.
MEDICAL CONFIDENTIALITY BREACH
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