Thanks very much for the nice posts from Rich and Nikole.
Nikole, I am sorry to hear that you`ve discovered a lump in your dog`s leg. Most lumps are benign but it`s always better to find out either way and earlier is better.
Rich, that is what I could call God`s work. [Or you can remove the word God and insert a word that suits your beliefs.] Indy had multiple occurences of mast cell cancer and likely had a genetic predisposition, especially since her first run in with the disease occured at age 2. It`s unusual for a 2 year old dog to have mast cell cancer.
Unfortunately, even in humans, past a certain point there often is not a lot that can be done with respect to treatment. That`s why early detection is important. Indy was an older dog but she should have had a few more years. Had I known what to look for and what kinds of tests should have been performed early on ... and I didn`t ... this might have had a different outcome. I believe that many dogs would be saved by earlier detection, because surgery remains the method with highest curative value with respect to solid tumors. For more distributed cancers, like lymphoma, chemotherapy is of course the only real option.
Obviously, no matter what is done, dogs will live shorter lives than us. I might not like that, but it is an unavoidable fact. Still, no dog should go through what Indy experienced, not when it`s very easy to screen for and diagnose many solid tumors very early. I think it`s so hard to tell with animals, when something is a little wrong, whereas it might be obvious when something is very wrong. I think that by the time a dog starts to ... maybe go off its food ... it might be too late.
Mammalian cancer may not be curable in the short or long term. But when caught early enough, a lot of cancers are curable or a lot more treatable.