Benefits of Living With Companion Animals for Patients With Advanced Cancer

Living with cancer is stressful enough without patients having to consider the possibility of giving up their beloved pets. Even people who are not ill will say that their pet gives them a reason to get up in the morning, to go outside for a walk, to prepare food at mealtime, or simply to enjoy their company. These benefits can be even more important considerations in the life of someone coping with cancer or other diseases. Researchers in the United Kingdom recently conducted an analysis of the role of pets in the lives of patients with advanced cancer.1

The researchers defined companion animal as any animal that is kept in a community for company, enjoyment, work, or psychological support.1 They estimate that 45% of families in the UK own a pet; these are mostly dogs or cats. In the United States, the statistic for pet-owning households is 70%; 69 million people share their homes with a dog and 45.3 million households have a cat.2

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