Devil Facial Tumour Disease
The Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD) is a fatal condition in Tasmanian devils
, characterised by cancers around the mouth and head. The
tumours or cancers are first noticed in and around the mouth as small
lesions or lumps. These develop into large tumours around the face and neck and sometimes even in other parts of the body.
is extremely unusual as it is only one of four recorded cancers that
can spread like a contagious disease. The cancer is passed from devil to
devil through contact, including biting. The live tumour cells aren't rejected by their
tem because of
the cancer's ability to 'hide' from the immune system.
DFTD affects mainly adults although juveniles as young as one can also be
infected. When the disease is advanced Tasmanian devils may have many
cancers throughout the body.
Infected devils may become emaciated
if the tumours interfere with teeth and feeding. Many females lose
their young. Infected animals die within months of the lesions first