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Animal Cancer

November 8, 2013

Cancer affects much of the animal kingdom, and we still have a lot to learn about it.



Cancer in the animal kingdom. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

(Susanne Bard)

Dr. Dee McAloose has seen a variety of cancer patients, including, for example, a Siberian tiger. She’s Head Pathologist for the Wildlife Conservation Society.

DEE McALOOSE (Wildlife Conservation Society):

All different kinds of animals get cancer. It’s not just dogs and cats, it’s not just people, but wildlife. And in some cases, it can be a conservation concern.


For instance, an epidemic of aggressive facial tumors has put Tasmanian Devils at risk for extinction. Surprisingly high cancer rates have also turned up in beluga whales, dolphins, and green sea turtles. It’s not yet clear whether environmental factors like pollutants are contributing. But McAloose says it’s worth finding out – for both the animals’ sake and our own.


So, sometimes you look at animals as potentially being the canary in the coal mine: you know, what are they developing that might then impact people?


I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.