October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. We can also focus on the topic of cancer in our aquarium fish, too. The more we know about it, the more likely we will be able to help our fishy friends in this area.
Fish can get cancer, too, unfortunately. Tumors in aquarium fish, for example, can be caused by cancer. The tumor, on the other hand, can also be caused by a virus, but most tumors are thought to be genetic.
The genetic tumors may be caused by too much hybridization, common among professional breeders. A tumor can cause severe distress to your fish and thus should be caught very early, as in humans.
Observe your fish every day and note any changes so that you may diagnose the problem and find ways to ease your fish’s discomfort and hopefully fix the problem so your fish can enjoy a long and happy and healthy life. Proper nutrition and clean, conditioned water at the right temperature with all the aquarium equipment you need to maintain your particular breed of fish the way he is meant to live will go a long way in prevention of any diseases. Knowledge about the specific type of fish you have and its appropriate living conditions needed for optimum health is key. Fish need a clean, healthy environment to thrive just as humans do.
Cancer, when it does appear in fish, is generally thought to not be treatable, but, for the treatment of some cancers, such as Carp Pox, which is very common in Koi and Goldfish, it may be possible to treat it with usnea, which is a lichen from the family Parmeliaceae and grows in damp, temperate woodlands. It is a natural treatment that contains potent antibiotics against tuberculosis bacterium.
Cancers are not common in most tropical fish because they are relatively short lived and so cancer rarely has time to develop. This does not mean, though, that it never happens. Cancer is more likely and can be a bigger problem in more long living fish species. Sharks, though, do not get cancer! So, you can rule out cancer if one of your (true) sharks gets a tumor. Some researchers hope that sharks will reveal the secret to preventing and curing cancer in humans as well.
Sharks have powerful immune systems - their cartilage contains an abundance of tumor-growth inhibitor. Their skeleton is made up entirely of cartilage and cartilage is different from other types of tissue because it does not contain any blood vessels. This lack of blood vessels may explain why sharks don’t get cancer. In order for a tumor to grow, it has to develop a network of blood vessels to provide it with an adequate blood supply and nourishment if it is to form by growing colonies of abnormal cells. So, in the shark’s cartilage, tumors can’t grow!
Good water conditions are your best course in preventing disease in your fishes!
See Olivia Newton-John’s information about her invention, the “Liv Aid” to assist in breast cancer detection. As seen on the Bonnie Hunt Show, you can pick up a Liv Aid for free at Curves. www.liv.com