Understanding Cat Tumors

Cat tumors aren’t an uncommon affliction among felines today. The diagnosis of a cat tumor can be overwhelming, but with the better understanding of the condition and veterinary care options today, pet owners can put their minds more at ease.

Cat Tumors Explained

Tumors are an uncontrolled growth that can affect any type of organ in a cat’s body. These growths can be benign or malignant. Routine physical exams and diagnostic tests can help detect a potentially dangerous tumor before it’s too late for treatment.

Benign tumors are non-cancerous, usually grow slowly, and are localized to one area of a cat’s body. Cats can develop small bumps (papules) or larger lumps (nodules) on any organ or system of the body, including the skin.

Malignant tumors tend to grow quickly and spread to other systems or organs in a cat’s body. This type of tumor often has long, microscopic tendrils that can grow new tumors in an area of a cat’s body that’s in a different location from the original growth. Tumors can also spread via the bloodstream or other body systems.

Types of Cat Tumors

There are four main types of tumors that can afflict a cat: skin tumors, lymphoma, mammary gland tumors and abdominal tumors.

Anytime a cat has a tumor of the skin, it’s usually malignant. Any breed of cat can develop skin tumors, but cats with white fur are more prone to these tumors, especially on the tips of their ears and around their eyes.

Lymphoma in cats is very common. Feline lymphoma often affects the digestive system, causing gastrointestinal symptoms.

Mammary gland tumors are most often seen in older female cats that were not spayed at a young age. Female cats that were spayed before the age of one have a 50% less chance of developing mammary tumors when they are older.

Abdominal tumors in cats are typically diagnosed after it’s too late because symptoms don’t appear until after the tumor is in its advanced stages. The rate of frequency of these tumors is comparatively low to other types of cancers found in cats.

Cat Tumor Treatments

Cat tumors can often be cured if they are benign with surgical means. If the tumor is malignant, there are several treatment options like surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and cryotherapy.

Surgery is performed on a malignant tumor when it can be removed from a cat’s body without damaging other tissues. However, surgery isn’t always recommended when a tumor has spread to other organs.  Chemotherapy is a when a cat is treated with strong medicines that are administered in the form of a pill or intravenously. The medicines used in this form of treatment contain chemicals that are intended to kill the cancer cells. With radiation therapy, high doses of radio-active waves are aimed directly at a tumor to shrink it or stop its growth. Cryotherapy involves freezing a tumor so it no longer is able to grow, and is then surgically removing it.

Tumors were once hard to treat in cats. They’re now an ailment that can be not only treated, but often cured with the advancements in modern veterinary medicine.