Do you know Batman the cancer dog? I didn’t either, until today, when I read that he died. This is sad news, but also one that represents a great victory.
Batman was diagnosed with an incurable brain tumor in 2008; according to the news article, the same type as that which took Senator Ted Kennedy- a glioblastoma. Average survival time for a human: about one year. The senator survived 15 months.
Batman survived 19 months.
Needless to say, most pets with a diagnosis of cancer live for far shorter periods than their human counterparts. This is for a variety of reasons, as you can imagine. So why did Batman make it so long?
He took part in a federally funded cancer research trial in the field of comparative oncology. It’s without a doubt a win-win; Batman’s parents were spared the enormous bill they were not able to afford otherwise, and the researchers are able to move forward with much less red tape than had they been working with human participants.
There are clinical trials in veterinary medicine designed for veterinary patients, but it’s reality that research money for diseases affecting humans with always be in greater supply. While the trials are ostensibly for the benefit of us humans, who can argue with the nice side effect of maybe finding something our pets can use as well? We’ll take what we can get, right?
Without the study, Batman’s owners would probably not have sought treatment. In those cases, median survival time is about 3 months. He survived 19. That is a lot of extra trips to the park, lots of tummy rubs, lots and lots of added memories.
So yes, this is a victory, for Batman, and for all of us who may benefit from the research he took part in.
RIP little guy. You did great.