Nobody wants to hear a diagnosis of cancer (or, in medical terms, neoplasia), a condition which brings up many emotions and requires a number of important decisions to be made. You may know a person who has suffered from cancer and although tumours in cats are very similar to tumours in people, the treatment options are often very different so it is important not to draw too many conclusions without first getting all the facts. Chemotherapy in cats, for example, does not usually cause discomfort or hair loss as it does in people and can result in a good quality of life for a significant period of time.
If your cat has been given a diagnosis of cancer, and particularly if your vet has been able to identify the type of tumour present, it’s worth learning as much as you can about the condition and any possible therapies. Many specialist veterinary centres offer oncology services so you may want to speak with your vet about referral if you are open to pursuing treatment.
- Cornell University Feline Health Centerwww.vet.cornell.edu/FHC/health_resources/topics.cfm — they offer several good pages on various topics including an excellent video overview of cancer, specific pages on squamous cell carcinoma and lymphoma, and a guide to caring for your cat with cancer at home.
- International Cat Carewww.icatcare.org/advice/cat-health/z-conditions-and-treatments — again, several excellent pages on specific tumours and also a good overview of cancer and the possible treatment options. Simply scroll down the page until you find C for cancer.
- The Blue Crosswww.bluecross.org.uk/1957-2760/coping-with-cancer.html — they have a concise FAQ on cancer which may be a good place to start.