Nose Cancer (Fibrosarcoma) in Cats
Nasal and Paranasal Sinus Fibrosarcoma in Cats
A fibrosarcoma specifically refers to the abnormal development of cells. It is typically a slow and invasive process that advances before it is discovered. Nasal and paranasal fibrosarcoma is characterized by a malignant tumor based in the connective tissue of the nasal passage or in the surrounding area.
This disease is fairly rare in cats. Typically, by the time the tumor is found, it has metastasized dangerously, but that is not to say that it cannot be treated satisfactorily. Associated factors include age, with most affected cats falling in the range of over six years; and gender, with males, castrated males especially, being more prone to fibrosarcoma than females. With appropriate treatment, cats can have an expected life span of up to 36 months. Without treatment, life span may be limited to five months, depending on the extent of the tumor's invasion.
Symptoms and Types
The abnormal cell development typically begins in one side of the sinus (or nasal passage), but typically moves to the other side as it progresses. There are a variety of signs that can develop, including:
- Mucus discharge from the nose and/or eyes
- Abnormal tear development (epiphora)
- Pain in or around the nasal cavity
- Bad breath (halitosis)
- Lack of appetite (anorexia)
- Facial deformity
The causes for fibrosarcoma are currently unknown.
There are several other medical conditions that must be ruled out prior to diagnosing fibrosarcoma, including bacterial, viral and fungal infections in the sinuses, hypertension (high blood pressure), parasites, foreign bodies, tooth root abscesses, and facial trauma. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) imaging can be helpful for reviewing the size of the tumor growth and how far it has spread, as well as whether the cells have spread into other parts of the cat's body.
Antibiotics will be given if there is an infection present, and surgery may be used to remove the abnormal cells. Radiotherapy and chemotherapy may also be effective at reducing the abnormal cell count. There is a strong risk of recurring fibrosarcoma, and repeat chemotherapy is generally not recommended under these circumstances.
Living and Management
If radiotherapy or surgical treatment is successful, your cat has a chance of living up to 36 months after treatment. However, if your cat is left untreated, the survival rate is estimated to be less than five months.
There are side effects to both radiation and chemotherapy treatments, so it is important to make your cat as comfortable as possible while working with your veterinarian to reduce the impact of any side effects.
Nasal fibrosarcomas that affect the brain are even more rare than nasal fibrosarcomas in cats, but there have been documented cases of their occurrence. Unfortunately, if the abnormal cells travel to the brain, the prognosis is very poor.
There are currently no known preventative measures for fibrosarcoma.
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