Mammary Cancer

by Kala
(Des Moines, IA)

I took my kitty Jasmine, who is around 10 and is a siamese mix, to the vet yesterday after noticing one of her nipples was very swollen and then noticed lumps under her skin. The vet said she has mammary cancer and of course said they could do surgery and if needed chemotherapy.

Even with surgery and chemo, from what I have read, the prognosis is not good. Jasmine is very sensitive and gets very stressed out when I take her to the vet.

I am having a hard time deciding whether I should put my cat through all of this if it will only prolong her life for a few months. Especially if those months are filled with visits to the vet. I am wondering if I do not treat her, how long will she have before I have to put her to sleep?

She seems perfectly fine now but I understand that mammary cancer is extremely fast moving and aggressive. I am an emotional wreck!

As it stands now, they will first check her lungs and blood and if that looks good, we are going ahead with surgery. She has multiple lumps on both sides. I am not sure that I am making the right decision.....

Dear Kala,

My deepest apologies that I was unable to answer your question sooner. Although you may have already made your decision by the time you are reading this, I would still like to address your questions.

Without seeing your cat in person, I couldn't say what your cat's prognosis is with her mammary cancer diagnosis. Bloodwork values and whether the cancer has metastasized plays a large role in overall prognosis, as well as the number of tumors and size. Giving a definite prognosis is difficult even with all of this information.

Multiple cat mammary tumors, on both sides, usually does indicate a poor prognosis. In my experience, cases that present with multiple lumps on both mammary chains, surgery and chemotherapy does not typically buy much time.

Everyone makes their own decisions when deciding what to do to treat cat mammary cancer, and there is no one right answer. As you can read from this reader with a Cat with Mammary Cancer and the comments that follow, you will see that many people have different opinions and have different experiences.

I encourage you to reach out to others that have been or are in your situation for help and support. I can't make the decision for you, and ultimately no one can, but finding support in whatever you decide will help you through.

All the best,
Dr. Neely

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