Cancer occurs in cats just as it occurs in humans. As healthy cells are turned to cancerous cells that rapidly multiply, a tissue growth occurs, which can cause multiple health complications to occur, even death. As with humans, cancers in cats are a common medical condition. Cats considered to be middle aged (10 to 15 years) are at a higher risk for developing cancer. While there are many types of cancers found it cats, there are 3 forms of cancer that occur most often: skin cancer, mammary cancer, and feline lymphoma. It is estimated, 32% of cats over 10 years old will die from a form of cancer.
Skin Cancer in Cats
At least 25% of all cancers found in cats are a form of skin cancer. Of this 25%, it is estimated at least 50% are malignant. There are many factors that increase a cat’s risk for developing skin cancer. Skin cancer in cats is often caused by frequent exposure to the sun, a home with cigarette smoking, canned foods, and flea collars. A cat being exposed to certain chemicals raises the cat’s risk for developing skin cancer. If detected early, and proper treatment is sought, a cat’s lifespan can be increased than what would be expected if the cancer is found in the later stages or if left untreated.
Mammary Cancer in Cats
17% of cats will develop mammary cancer, which is about 1 in every 4,000. Typically, cats 10-14 years of age have an increased risk for developing mammary cancer. Unfortunately, when a cat develops mammary cancer the outcome is generally fatal. If the cancer is caught in the early stages, the prognosis is more favorable; however, the likeliness of the cancer found early is slight. It is estimated, 65% of cats who undergo surgery to remove the cancer will have the cancer reoccur within a year. A cat’s risk for developing mammary cancer is decreased if the cat has been spayed. While it is rare, male cats can suffer from mammary cancer as well.
Feline lymphoma is the most commonly seen cancer in cats. It is estimated that 200 out of 100,000 cats will develop feline lymphoma. Cats who have tested positive for FeLV have a 60% increased risk for developing feline lymphoma. Unlike many cancers, feline lymphoma is most often seen in younger cats. The survival rate for feline lymphoma is very low due to the fact the cancer is not easily detectable. Because the cancer causes tumor to appear that are not often visible, the cancer is often detected too late to receive proper treatment.
“Diagnosing Cancer in Cats” WebMD
“Feline Cancer Resources” ZZCAT
“Mammary Cancer in Cats” PetEducation