Feline Cancer Prognosis

Feline cancer is a broad term that may refer to a number of affected areas: the skin, bones or internal organs. Cancer occurs when the cat has a tumor which contains cancerous cells. The prognosis of feline cancer depends greatly on the type of cancer that affects the cat and the stage of the cancer.

Types of Cancer

Cats have cancerous cells in their bodies; however, when the cancerous cells start developing, a tumor may occur. Tumors may affect different organs (i.e. liver, lungs) or areas of the cat’s body (i.e. mouth, abdomen), the skin or the bones. The cancerous cells may also attack the cat’s blood.

Stages of Cancer

After performing a biopsy and the results show that the tumor is cancerous, the vet will perform additional tests to establish the stage of the cancer and how spread it is in the cat’s body. Feline cancer has 4 stages and the earlier the cancer is detected, the higher chances of survival.

  • Stage I cancer is when a cancerous tumor is detected and the tumor is small, plus the vet establishes it hasn’t affected any other areas of lymph nodes.
  • Stage II cancer is when the tumor starts growing, but still doesn’t affect other areas.
  • Cancer at stage III starts to affect neighboring lymph nodes.
  • Stage IV is when the tumor has spread to several organs in the body.

Feline Cancer Prognosis

The prognosis of a cat with cancer will depend on a few factors including the stage of the cancer and the type of the cancer. Stages I and II of cancer have a better prognosis and the cat may be operated and the tumor removed. Some cancers will be less aggressive than others. Typically, bone cancer or osteosarcoma is very aggressive and a cat affected by this cancer may die within 6 months even if under treatment. However, if the affected bone is removed and the cancer hasn’t spread to other parts of the body, the prognosis is favorable.

The cat may live a healthy life. The cancer may return, so the cat needs to be monitored. Other cancers may have a slower development and the tumors may not grow fast, so that cat may live 1 to 2 years or even more if under proper treatment. If detected before the tumor grows, the tumor may be surgically removed. As with osteosarcoma, the removal of the tumor may mean complete healing. The tumor may return, but this cannot be predicted as it depends on each case in part.

Early detection of feline cancer is important in having a more favorable prognosis. However, some cancers may show subtle signs or no symptoms at all, so they may only be detected when the cancer has metastized to the lungs and the cat is severely ill.

Chemotherapy will be administered to cats with advanced stages of cancer. The chemotherapy will stop the cancerous cells from developing and slow the spreading to other organs. Radiation therapy may also be effective for felines that are in pain.