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Skin Cancer (Hemangiosarcoma) in Cats



The most successful outcome will require surgical removal in combination with chemical therapy. A wide surgical excision of the tumor, along with some of the normal skin tissue surrounding it is typically the most effective treatment. However, if the tumor involves subcutaneous tissue, complete removal may be difficult to achieve.


After the initial surgery, your veterinary oncologist may recommend continued radiation therapy, especially if a complete resection of tumor could not be achieved. Chemotherapy may also be an option, but whether it is used or not will be decided by your veterinary oncologist.


Living and Management


As with other malignant tumors, cats affected with this tumor have a limited lifespan after diagnosis. Surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy may prolong your cat's lifespan, but not significantly. Cats that have been diagnosed and treated for cancer need to be fed a diet that is specifically formulated for them. Your veterinarian will help you to plan a diet for your cat posttreatment.


Postoperative pain is common, and your veterinarian will recommend pain relieving medications for your cat. Do not use any pain medications without his or hers prior approval, since there are some pain killers that may aggravate the bleeding problems in affected cats. Use pain medications with caution and follow all directions carefully; one of the most preventable accidents with pets is an overdose of medication.


After surgery, you should expect the cat to feel sore. The veterinarian will give you pain medication to minimize your cat's discomfort. You will need to set up a place in the house where your cat can rest comfortably and quietly away from other pets, active children, and busy entryways. Setting the cat litter box and food dishes close by will enable your cat to continue to care for itself normally without unduly exertion. You will also need to protect your cat from the harmful effects of sunlight. If your cat spends time on a window sill or at a glass door, a transparent ultraviolet (UV) blocking window cover can be used to limit the amount of UV rays that reach your cat.


Each cat is different, and some will survive longer than others. The location and extent of the tumor will determine the prognosis, but the average time of survival after surgery is often less than one year. Moreover, complete and permanent remission is rare.



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