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Mast cell tumor-radiation for 11.5 year old Yorkie?
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Mast cell tumor-radiation for 11.5 year old Yorkie?

My 11.5 year old Yorkshire Terrier had 3 mast cell tumors (all Grade 2) removed in late April. One of the mast cell tumors was on her front right ankle therefore it could not be completely excised and radiation is being recommended for that area. The other two tumors were removed with clean margins (so no further treatment recommended for those areas). The report reads for the ankle specimen that "individual and clusters of 2-3 mast cells extend to the deep section margin...." meaning dirty margins. The stats for the ankle specimen follow:

KIT Pattern = 1
Ki-67 = 3
PCNA = 70%
AgNORs/cell = 1.1
AgNORxKi-67 = 3.3
C-KIT mutation PCR = negative

The report noted neither vascular nor lymphatic invasion was observed in any specimen and the overall proliferation markers in all three specimens do NOT support poor prognosis. Her bone marrow was also tested for cancer and those results are negative.

My questions are:
1. Should we wait and see what happens (instead of treating her ankle with radiation) given her history of multiple mast cell tumors, age, etc.?
2. If we do wait and a mast cell returns to that area is radiation still a good option to destroy the cancer activity there?
3. Are there holistic treatment options for her instead of radiation and if so, what are they?
4. If we choose radiation treatment, what are the pros/cons to this treatment especially with consideration to her age? ( Please note that I expect her to be sick a lot during the days of treatment as she has to be given anesthesia each day of radiation and she doesn't take particularly well to that.)
5. Are the possible negative side effects of radiation worth it given her age of 11.5 years?
6. What is her prognosis or potential life expectancy if we wait and see versus proceeding with radiation treatment?
7. Is there any correlation to the number of mast cell tumors and the cancer returning?

Out of her three tumor removals, her ankle took the longest time to heal and has only recently done so.  With it now healed,  we feel we should come to a decision of whether to wait and see or proceed with radiation treatment. I'd appreciate any feedback to help us with this difficult decision. Thank you!

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2 Comments Post a Comment
Avatar dr f tn
Hi I am sorry to hear this and glad to help. Perhaps monitor the mast cell tumor area on your dogs ankle and begin a good cancer prevention program. The anti-cancer diet, posted on my Lymphoma blog here at along with the Paaws Dog Vitamins, available at have helped many dogs similar to yours to enjoy quality of life and have been effective in helping to prevent cancer such as mast cell tumors, recurrences in our veterinary practice. This is a simple, cost effective natural plan that only offers a positive result for your dog. If I can help further feel free to contact out office.
Best Wishes
Dr Carol Osborne, DVM
Avatar f tn
We have a 12 yr old rottweiller who is diabetic (fairly well controlled) and hypothyroid.  She has a bump at the base of her sternum which had been believed to be a hernia (in Jan, and she has been wearing a 'truss'), now has been diagnosed as a mast cell tumor (Aug).  It is about 1" in diameter, and projects out perhaps 1/2", it is possible to get the fingers around it as though separating it from her body (like a freestanding item).  We are quite devoted to our dog as all our efforts on the diabetes indicates, but do not want suffering.
She has slowly over time slowed down, and especially recently been low on energy. Although we still take a mile walks twice a day, they are slow.  Her appetite is good.
We are considering whether to have her undergo surgery for this tumor.  These anesthetic episodes with the diabetes can be difficult with eating and insulin, the area being bad without a lot of loose skin, and healing is never great for diabetics.  Cataract surgery last Nov was very stressful for her.  There is also her age.
My real question is what the chances are of these cells having spread internally.  I can say that the diameter of the tumor has not increased so much as the depth of projection has, whatever that means!  No mention was made of biopsying lymph nodes to check for this, and which way would you go, anyway?  Kind of in the middle.  No reason to operate if other organs have become involved.
Appreciate any idea as to my question.
Thank you
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