May 2011 - LilaOur Patient of the Month for May 2011 is Lila, a sweet 12-year-old spayed female Schnauzer. Lila was presented to our Oncology department in early February 2010, shortly before her 11th birthday, with a biopsy confirmed diagnosis of a high grade melanoma of the foot pad of her left hind foot.  Because of the location of the tumor on the footpad and the goal to save Lila’s leg, treatment consisted of a combination of surgery for resection of the tumor and footpad reconstruction by our Surgery department, followed by a short course of radiation therapy.  Histopathology results confirmed that the tumor was high grade, with a high probability of spreading, particularly to the lungs.  Most patients with high-grade melanoma do not survive beyond 6 months, when surgery is the only treatment.  Lila was treated with a combination of a Melanoma vaccine and low dose chemotherapy to prevent progression of the cancer to the lungs.   15 months later, Lila remains cancer free and her quality of life is excellent.  Lila’s owner shares their story, “When I first heard from Lila’s veterinarian that the tissue he sent in for examination was a melanoma, I thought all hope was lost for Lila.   You told me during her treatment that I should not give up hope.  The treatment you prescribed had been proven to have positive results.  I put my trust in you and you gave me so much encouragement.  I felt I was as much a patient as Lila. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”