As many who have successfully battled cancer will tell you, one of the keys to managing the disease is educating yourself. Knowing exactly what you’re dealing with, what options are available and what others have experienced are all key components of knowing the right questions to ask and how to mentally prepare yourself for battle. This is true for humans dealing with cancer as well as the human guardians of animals who are dealing with cancer.
When we know what we’re fighting, we can immediately start working on a plan of action. For me, I know that the scariest time during Georgia’s battle with lymphoma was that period of four days between suspected cancer and confirmed lymphoma. During those four days, my mind imagined the absolute worst and I have never felt so helpless in my life. Once I knew the name of the beast, however, I was able to start researching everything I could get my hands on related to lymphoma and treatment options. This helped me decide to pursue chemotherapy, and to track down a veterinary specialist who could treat her. Perhaps most importantly, it switched my mind from panic to determination. We were ready to fight.
Not everyone needs the same level of information though to feel prepared. For some, less is more and they only need to know the basics. Much of the information on Georgia’s Legacy is actually a compilation of basic information and advice that I found most helpful during the start of our journey. For those who want to know even more, however, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, one of the leaders in canine cancer research, offers a series of online courses related to veterinary oncology. The courses are designed for veterinary professionals who want to earn Continuing Education credits, but ANYONE can sign up to take these courses, which are usually about an hour long. Each course in the Practical Clinical Oncology section costs between $17.50 and $35 and includes topics such as Lymphoma, Chemotherapy Drugs, Mast Cell Tumors, Osteosarcoma and more. All you need is a computer with speakers. Because the courses are geared toward professionals, not the average pet guardian, some of the information is fairly high-level and detailed, but it also includes some of the most cutting-edge research taking place and insight into how veterinarians typically approach cancer treatment. If you’ve got the time and interest, this is an exceptional online resource. If you’re not interested, but feel that your primary veterinarian may benefit from this continuing education opportunity, I’d recommend it to them also. The more information we can all share about canine cancer, the more lives we can hopefully save.