The Less-Than-Scary Cancers

Luckily there are some cancers that are less than scary. These include at least one cancer known to often spontaneously regress and some cancers that usually do next to no harm to their canine hosts. Two of these are usually seen in young dogs and one in older dogs.

The “Good” Young Dog Tumors

One of the cancers that is sometimes seen in young dogs is a histiocytoma. These are also called button tumors, as they look like raised, round, reddish buttons. These growths usually appear alone and on dogs under three years of age, and they often occur on the ears or muzzle. While surgery can be done to remove these tumors, they usually regress spontaneously.

Papillomas are wartlike growths caused by a papillomavirus. These small growths tend to show up around the mouth, usually in groups. Again, these growths tend to regress on their own.


Lipomas are fatty tumors that tend to show up on middle-aged to senior dogs. These growths aren't necessarily associated with excess weight, and even thin dogs might have lipomas. The masses are usually round, smooth, and slightly movable. They tend to be found on the rib cage and body wall. Sometimes lipomas can grow large enough to interfere with your dog's movement. They very rarely grow large enough to outgrow their blood supply and get infected. Doberman pinschers and Labrador retrievers seem to be at risk more than other breeds. Surgery can be curative, but in many dogs the masses will recur.

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