Do dogs and humans share the same risk factors for cancer development?

Last changed: 02 May 2024

Cancer is common in dogs and negatively impacts animal welfare by causing pain and decreased quality of life. Cancer is also one of the most common causes of euthanasia in dogs. In this project, we want to increase the knowledge about risk factors for cancer development in dogs, focusing on breed, sex, and age, using insurance data from Agria Djurförsäkring. We will also investigate reasons for euthanasia in dogs affected by cancer and estimate survival after diagnosis.

Pet dogs often live in the same environment as their owners and are exposed to similar environmental pollutants, where some have been associated with an increased risk of cancer development. In additions, some tumours such as lymphoma affect both dogs and humans. In our project, we will investigate if cancer occurrence in dogs and humans co-vary geographically and in that case, if exposure to environmental pollutants can be associated with cancer occurrence.

The goal is to contribute important information regarding risk factors for cancer development in dogs and humans, which hopefully can result in decreased cancer development and increased quality of life in both dogs and humans.


Project period and funding

2023-03-01 – 2026-03-01

The project is financed by Agria och SKK Forskningsfond


Project group

Karolina Engdahl, researcher at the Unit of Epidemiology, Department of Clinical Sciences, SLU

Ulf Emanuelson, researcher at the Unit of Epidemiology, Department of Clinical Sciences, SLU

Åke Hedhammar, professor emeritus, Department of Clinical Sciences, SLU

Henrik Rönnberg, professor at the Pharmacology and Toxicology Unit, Department of Biomedical Science and Veterinary Public Health, SLU

Sara Saellström, lecturer at the Unit of Small Animal Medicine, Department of Clinical Sciences, SLU

Fang Fang, professor at the Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet


Karolina Engdahl

Doctoral Student, Clinical Veterinarian at the Department of Clinical Sciences; Veterinary Epidemiology Unit

Telephone: +4618671892