Cancer is a term that refers to the disease caused by a tumor or neoplasm, which is a cluster of abnormal cells within the body. These cells continue to expand and divide without any control inside the body. So, it is a sad reality that our fluffy and fuzzy friends (cats) are also subject to this disease. Cancer in cats is not very common as compared to dogs, but when it develops it is more likely to be incurable and in an aggressive form. Cancer in cats is very difficult to detect. You can trace cancer when you see a physical change in their appearance or movement. Moreover, cats are tricky because they know how to hide their pain. In such cases, you have to observe their mood and behavior. There are different types of cancers in cats. Each type of cancer is named for the cells from where it originated. For example, lymphoma attacks the lymphatic system and osteosarcoma affects the bones of the cats. For every type of the cells in a cat's body from skin to blood vessels and stomach, there is a corresponding type of tumor and cancer in them. These tumors rapidly grow inside the body and cause cancer.
Some of the cat cancer symptoms are as follows…
- Vomiting: Cats with cancer are unable to digest their food as cancer affects their digestive system. This can be an indicator to detect cancer.
- Weight Loss: Cats with cancer lose a lot of weight because they have a poor appetite.
- Difficulty in breathing: Cancer in cats can cause redness and swelling in their lungs which makes it problematic to breathe for them.
- Lumps and bumps: If a cat has a lump or bump that won’t heal, then it may be a sign of skin cancer. This is one of the least common but most obvious symptoms.
- Difficulty in chewing: If a cat is having a problem chewing, then it is a symptom of mouth cancer.
Cancer in cats can be developed for a number of reasons.
Genetic sensitivity in the development of tumors certainly occurs in cats. There are environmental elements that cause cancers in cats and when a genetically predisposed cat is exposed to such environments, the exposure can trigger abnormalities. For example, exposure to a wide range of chemicals, or for white cats over-exposed to sunlight.
Feline Leukemia Virus can also cause cancer in cats. It is one of the common viral infections in cats. When cats are exposed to this infection, it directly affects the blood-producing cells in their body. It also infects the blood cells of bone marrow and can lead to the development of tumors in cats. Studies show that a cat with the Feline Leukemia virus has a 50-fold increased risk of tumors like lymphoma. This tumor is connected with Feline Leukemia and causes cancer in cats. Tumors can occur in any part of the body and they can directly or indirectly influence the cat’s physical appearance. This is the frequently diagnosed tumor in cats. Another tumor named Fatty tumor may show up anywhere on a cat's body. It produces lumps that grow slowly inside their body, without destroying neighboring tissues and cells. This tumor can be seen in overweight cats.
Malignant tumors damage neighboring tissues and cells inside the body. These tumors start growing and spreading all over the body. Tumor cells travel in the blood vessels and start to form a new tumor elsewhere in the body. This tumor mostly occurs in the lungs.
Diagnose and treatment:
Diagnosis of cancers in cats is started with a physical exam. Radiographers and X-rays are used frequently to diagnose cancers in cats. This diagnostic method is useful to look for tumors in cats. This method is used to find out how serious the tumor is and where it is located. Tumors in locations like the brain need more advanced imaging such as CT-Scan. To detect cancer or a tumor and to diagnose it accurately, it is important to evaluate tumor cells using a microscope. According to the severity of cancer, the diagnostic and treatment level changes. Cancer and tumor level starts from 1 to 4 in which 4 is the worst condition of cancer in cats. After diagnosis, treatment is of different levels which depend on various factors such as…
- Type of cancer
- Stage of cancer
- Location of tumors
- Cat’s tolerance level
Chemotherapy, surgery, and other medical operations are the options to cure cancer and remove tumors from cats. The best way to ensure the full recovery of a cat from cancer is to diagnose it at an early stage.