Beads are changing the way some veterinarians treat cancer. These beads are effective, inexpensive, and have few side effects. Are they too good, can't they be true?
Around 2008, I met a new option to supplement cancer surgery. The results are impressive. Prior to this, chemotherapy and radiation therapy were the two main solutions after eliminating cancer tumors, just like in people. Both of these therapies can have side effects, and they can cost thousands of dollars.
About chemotherapy beads
The price of chemotherapy beads is only a small part of the other options. The veterinarian can now place small cisplatin beads around the tumor site. Cisplatin is slowly released from the beads and the beads are reabsorbed by the body within 4-6 weeks. Cisplatin is a common chemotherapy drug that is often used in combination with intravenous injection in our canine cancer patients.
Unfortunately, cisplatin is fatal to cats, but by adding a small dose to the beads, the veterinarian can now eliminate the side effects. These beads are 3 mm in diameter and are about 1/10 inch in diameter.
Limitations of chemotherapy beads
Although cisplatin beads are generally effective in preventing or slowing the recurrence of cancer, they do not prevent spread (metastasis), such as the lungs. Fortunately, some of these tumors are not easily spread.
When is the bead placed?
The best time to place the beads is at the time of surgery, when we know the exact location of the tumor and the problem with the cancer-free edge (edge). There are three disadvantages to implanting beads after surgery (such as biopsy reports showing incomplete edges):
It's hard to know where the profit is.
Need to have another operation under anesthesia.
There is an additional fee.
The number of beads varies with the size of the tumor. Usually placed once every 1-2 cm. However, in order to reduce the risk, 6 beads are usually used most often in cats. This means that if the patient wants to be a good candidate, the tumor can't be too big.
Side effects of chemotherapy beads
Side effects are rare and usually topical. Occasionally include swelling, irritation and skin drainage. Although intravenous cisplatin is fatal to cats, I have not observed or heard about the general side effects of placing beads.
Chemotherapy beads for human safety
Ironically, chemotherapy drugs can cause cancer. Therefore, pet parents should not touch any drain pipe with bare hands. If the incision leaks, it is important to wear disposable gloves and use the cleaning solution once.
The ankle incision must be prevented. If recommended, cats receiving chemotherapy beads should wear an E-collar 24/7 and should be separated from other pets.
FDA for drug beads
Cisplatin beads have not been approved by the FDA for cats. However, there are almost no FDA approved chemotherapy drugs for pets! Usually, veterinarians must use real human drugs.
Which cancers can chemotherapy beads be used for?
Cisplatin beads do not work for all tumors. Your veterinarian, or veterinarian, is in the best position to decide if it is appropriate. Indications for cisplatin beads include removal of "thin margin" tumors such as:
Soft tissue sarcoma (fibrosarcoma)
Melanoma (skin or mouth)
Some cancers (squamous cell carcinoma, salivary gland cancer, thyroid cancer)
I have used chemotherapy beads on cats with multiple cancer tumors, including:
Lower eyelid malignant melanoma
Salivary gland cancer (cancer)