November is National Pet Cancer Awareness Month and Nationwide is partnering with the Animal Cancer Foundation (ACF) to increase awareness and raise funds to fight the number one disease-related killer of dogs and cats. Last year, Nationwide, the nation’s first and largest provider of pet health insurance, received more than 75,000 pet insurance claims for cancer diagnosis and treatment in pets (a 10 percent increase from the year prior), making cancer-related conditions one of the most common types of medical claims. In fact, last year, Nationwide pet insurance members accumulated more than $22 million in medical expenses for the top 10 pet cancer-related conditions. In a continuing effort to educate pet owners about the prevalence, detection and treatment of pet cancer, Nationwide recognizes November as National Pet Cancer Awareness Month.
During the month of November, Nationwide will donate $5 to the Animal Cancer Foundation, up to $30,000, for every photo, story or statistic shared on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using #CurePetCancer (for further information, go to www.curepetcancer.com).
Nationwide launched National Pet Cancer Awareness Month in 2005, calling attention to the deadliest disease among dogs and cats. Listed below are the 10 most common pet cancer-related claims received by Nationwide last year:
Most Common Cancerous Conditions (in order of prevalence)
- Skin Cancer (Malignant Skin Neoplasia)
- Lymphosarcoma or Lymphoma
- Splenic (Spleen) Cancer
- Bone or Joint Cancer
- Hepatic (Liver) Cancer
- Thoracic (Chest) Cancer
- Bladder Cancer
- Anal Sac Cancer
- Oral Cancer or Malignant Oral Neoplasia
- Brain or Spinal Cord Cancer
“Just like humans, cancer is a looming danger in the lives of our pets,” said Dr. Carol McConnell, DVM, MBA, vice president and chief veterinary medical officer for Nationwide. “The prevalence of pet cancer continues to increase year over year. Last year we received 8,000 more pet cancer related claims than the year prior. However, there is hope for owners whose pets are suffering from cancer. Advances in early detection and treatment, along with affordable financial solutions, have given pet lovers a number of options to fight back.”Treatment for these conditions can carry a heavy financial burden for pet owners. Lymphosarcoma is the second most common and second most expensive condition on the list, costing Nationwide members an average of $1,926 per pet. Brain or Spinal Cord Neoplasia is the most expensive on the list to treat, costing members an average of $2,163 per pet. To ensure that Nationwide members receive optimal cancer treatment, Nationwide medical policies include benefits for the diagnosis and treatment of cancerous conditions, such as metastasis screening, chemotherapy, radiation and immunotherapy.
Pet Cancer Detection Tips
To detect cancer early, pet owners should be attentive to any growing lumps or sores on their pet that fail to heal. They should also monitor their pet for:
1) drastic changes in the pet’s appetite or weight
2) unusually strong odors coming from a pet
3) discharge or bleeding from any body opening
4) difficulty chewing or swallowing
5) an unwillingness to exercise.