About 3 years ago, my cat was diagnosed with Cancer (Lymphoma). The vet told us that if we went with surgery, the best we could hope for is another year or two before it returned. She was 10 years old at the time and already to the point where she was eating very little due to her stomach being constricted by the tumor. We had her put down the following week.

Are there types of cancer where treatment is actually a viable option? How likely is it to even diagnose when odds of success are good? (In my cat's case, an x-ray done 7 months prior showed no signs of a tumor).

  • (I'm not a vet and can only speak about my cancer experience in dogs). Keep in mind there are multiple types of surgeries. For my golden who had sarcoma, we chose to open him up and cut out the sarcoma. Sadly, we were to late (the vet said it was everywhere & would have weighed 9lbs, and was bleeding). I'm told that the type of surgery we put our golden through is very often successful. From what I understand, the success is related to: 1) where the tumour is, 2) how big the tumour is, 3) has it released fluids like blood? (bad), 4) how distinct the tumour is from the rest of the tissue. – jeremy Dec 29 '13 at 22:44
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    The best person to answer this is a vet looking at a specific case. Too many factors affect this answer (tumor type, size, location, the animal's age, health, and general condition, the owner's budget and willingness to participate in treatment, etc). – Zaralynda Dec 30 '13 at 0:53
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    @Zaralynda - while true, it is still possible to provide some general sense of the scope. As with humans, there is some statistical information on survival rates. – John Cavan Dec 30 '13 at 1:52
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    @JohnCavan Obviously the information is available, but the information isn't that constructive and useful to others having the same question. I'm not sure you realize the scope of this question. We're dealing with hundreds of types of cancers, locations, irregularities, and animals. – jeremy Dec 30 '13 at 5:24
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    Then, @cimmanon, I'm afraid I have to agree with the others that this is too broad. It is possible to provide median survival rates on specific cancer types for specific animal species, but if you want it for all cancers for all species, then it is clearly way too broad for this site. – John Cavan Dec 30 '13 at 14:22

The information I have (Blackwell's Consult) is dependent on the treatment options...

  • Prednisone (immunity suppressant) only: 2 months
  • COP/CHOP-based Chemo: 6-9 months
  • Doxorubicin-based Chemo: 3.5-17.5 months (median based on Feline Leukaemia status) but anatomic location is also a factor:
    • Renal: 6.5 - 11.5 months (median based on Feline Leukaemia status)
    • Nasal: 1.5 - 2.5 years (radiation and chemo)

Grade of the tumor also impacts as well with as little as 2 months to well over 2 years depending on remission. There's quite a lot of variance and swing in this, so individual diagnosis will matter a great deal. At any rate, the information from your vet seems in line with my book.

To put some of these timespans into perspective, if the average lifespan of a domestic cat is 14-16 years then 2 years for the cat is equivalent to about 10 years for a human with respect to lifespan post treatment. That is comparable or better with regards to similar in humans (first link is non-Hodgkins and the second is Hodgkins).

As a side note, for dogs at least, the treatments and survival rates are different.

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