Skin Cancer (Adenocarcinoma) in Cats

By PetMD Editorial on Jan. 6, 2009

Sweat Gland, Sebaceous Adenocarcinoma in Cats


While skin tumors are most common on the face, they can occur anywhere a cat has sweat glands. Adenocarcinoma is a glandular skin cancer that occurs when a malignant growth develops from sebaceous glands and sweat glands. Skin cancer appears as solid, firm or raised areas (lesions) on the skin. The lesions can bleed (ulcerate) and the area may swell or become red. Treatment options are generally effective when started early and in many cases leads to a positive outcome.


Symptoms and Types


Lesions can be present on the body of the cat as a single lesion or in many different areas. Skin cancer can appear as a solid, firm mass, or a raised lesion on the skin.




The cause of skin cancer is currently unknown.




For a proper diagnosis to be made, a biopsy will be necessary. Your veterinarian will take a tissue sample of the tumor to evaluate under a microscope, and will more than likely be performing a cytologic examination of the structure of the cells from the sample to determine whether the disease has spread throughout the body, and the speed at which it is metastasizing (spreading). An X-ray may also be used to determine if internal tumors are present.






Surgical removal of the tumor is the most common course of treatment. Affected lymph nodes may also need to be drained and treated to prevent rupture and infection. Radiation therapy can then be used to treat the lymph nodes to prevent recurrence and metastasis of the disease into other areas. Chemotherapy drugs are also used to treat tumors. The degree of treatment is determined by the severity the disease.


Living and Management


The long-term prognosis for cats is often good when the cancer is treated early and aggressively. Aggressive treatment often involves surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy.




There is currently no way to prevent skin cancer.

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