Skin Tumors In Cats:
Skin tumors are common in cats. Many skin tumors are not malignant; however, the incidence of skin cancer is still high and accounts for 7 percent of feline cancers.
Breast And Mouth Tumors:
Next in frequency is cancer in the breast, accounting for 5 percent. Growths in the mouth account for 3-4 percent of feline cancers. Nearly all of them are malignant. Signs of mouth cancer are drooling, difficulty eating and the appearance of a lump or ulcerated growth involving the tongue or gums. A mouth cancer should be distinguished from an infected mass produced by imbedded foreign bodies such as needles, wood splinters or string cutting into the underside of the tongue.
Cancer In Cats: Causes, Symptoms, Treatments
Cats have higher rates of cancer than dogs and other domestic animals do. Most feline cancers occur in middle-aged and older individuals 10 to 15 years of age. Lymphosarcoma is an exception, occuring most often in young cats. The majority of feline cancers are not visible by outward inspection except for skin and breast tumors. These neoplasms can be detected by inspection and palpation. The high cancer rate in cats is related to the feline leukemia virus. Common sites of involvement are lymph nodes and circulating blood cells, but any organ or tissue can be affected.
Cancers In The Digestive And Female Reproductive Tracts:
These types of cancers tend to grow large before they are detected, usually by the presence of a palpable mass or by signs of intestinal blockage. You should consider the possibility of cancer if your cat has difficulty eating or digesting food, or in the case of the reproductive tract, vaginal discharge or bleeding.
What Causes Cancer In Cats?
Cancer in cats can be genetically influenced. Some genes, if present at certain locations on chromosomes, cause cells to become cancers. Carcinogens are environmental influences known to increase the likelihood of cancer in proportion to the length and intensity of exposure to them. Carcinogens gain access to tissue cells, cause alterations in genes and chromosomes and disrupt the orderly system of checks and balances that controls cellular growth and tissue repair. Examples of carcinogens known to increase the risk of cancer are ultraviolet rays (skin cancer); x-rays (thyroid cancer), nuclear radiation (leukemia), chemicals (aniline dyes causing bladder cancer), cigarette smoke and coal tars (causing lung and skin cancer), and parasites (bladder cancer). The feline leukemia virus causes several types of cancer.
Treatment Of Cancer In Cats:
The effectiveness of any form of treatment depends on early recognition. Early stage cancers have a higher cure rate than do late-stage cancers. This holds true for all types of cancers.
Complete surgical removal of a cancer that has not spread is the most satisfactory treatment possible. Cancers that have spread only to regional lymph nodes may still be cured if all the involved nodes can be removed. Even when the disease is widespread, local excision of a bleeding or infected cancer can provide relief of pain and improve quality of life.
Bone Cancer In Cats:
Bone cancer is also rare, at about 3 percent of all cancers. Signs may be swelling of the leg or a limp in a mature cat without a history of injury. Bone cancer spreads early and to the lungs, and can be diagnosed with a bone marrow biopsy.
Burning or freezing are two techniques by which tumors on the body's surface can be controlled or cured. These treatments provide alternatives to surgical removal, but special equipment is required.
Radiation Therapy is useful in the management of some surface tumors and deeply situated tumors that connot be controlled by surgery. Cures are possible. Radiation therapy requires special equipment and a qualified radiotherapist.
Even Cats Are Vulnerable To Breast Cancer.
Chemotherapy employs anticancer drugs given at prescribed intervals. These drugs, even when tightly controlled, have major side effects. They are useful in the management of some widely spread cancers.
Hormone therapy and immunotherapy also have been successful in the management of some tumors.
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