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Could it be something other than cancer?

My cat, Chuck, is 16 years old.

One day not so long ago I discovered a small lump under my cat's chin on the left side, just behind the jaw bone.  I monitored it for several weeks and it didn't grow or seem troublesome at all to Chuck.  About 8 weeks after initially noticing the small lump, I took Chuck in for teeth cleaning and it ended up including 3 extractions, one extraction was in close proximity to the lump under his chin.  At the time of the dental work, the vet believed that the small lump was due to irritation from the bad teeth.

Within 3 weeks post-cleaning, the lump had grown to the size of an almond but seems to have stopped growing since then.  I took him to the vet last Friday and the vet advised that it was his clinical opinion that the tumor is cancerous and that Chuck has about 6 months left.  He did not do a biopsy but said that he's certain beyond a doubt that it is cancer.  He prescribed Metacam.  After 2 doses, Chuck had terrible side effects from it so I discontinued it.

The vet prescribed a steroidal medication which I have yet to pick up (the vet pharmacy hasn't filled it yet).  In the past few days, Chuck has been acting very normal and happy.  The only difference seems to be the lump that seems to have stopped growing (at least, growing outwardly).  He's showing no signs of distress at all.  He's eating as usual and is not wheezing.  Since there's no way to tell what stimpulated the tumor to grow in the first place, and Chuck seems perfectly happy, I am reluctant to medicate him with anything for fear that it will stimulate growth again.  Do you think I am taking too much of a risk with shortening his life even more by not medicating him?  Is there any chance, however small, that the growth is NOT cancerous?  An abscess maybe?

Lastly, when the vet did pre-dental bloodwork, he said that Chuck has a hyperthyroid condition.  Would this condition affect the tumor in any way?

Thanks for your time and consideration.
4 Responses
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518117 tn?1429276273
I am so very sorry about your Chuck. Please take the advice of the other members on this forum. I have a 15 yr. old kitty named Hissie. She took very ill on me and had to have intestional surgery. Our vet was getting stumped as to what was wrong with Hissie at first. Blood work was coming back good, regular xrays, etc. Yet, Hissie was very very sick kitty. Vet said if she could not find what was wrong, she was maybe suspecting cancer. Vet admitted Hissie was a tough case to figure out. But, our vet never gave up. With more testing the cause was found. Hissie had a large dried up hairball in her intestines. The point I am trying to make is, a good vet is everything. A vet cannot diagnosis cancer without a biopsy. That vet had no right to put a time limit on your kitty's life, without first doing his job properly. I know that had to be devastating to you, to hear that. Please try to seek the advice of another vet. Chuck is old like my Hissie. But, he could still have some more years left in him. I have to believe Hissie does. I am praying for you and your Chuck.
Helpful - 0
306594 tn?1443387857
I agree with the other posters comments, I think some vets dismiss old cats too easily, a biopsy needs to be done to determine if its cancer or not. My cat died 8 years ago from cancer at the age of 17, xrays and a biopsy was done at the time to prove there was cancer, the vet said that as he had a strong heart they would operate to see if they could get the cancer, this was at my insistence as I wanted to give him any chance I could at living. I got the call when he was on the operating table to tell me that the cancer had spread too far, so I had to let him go. My point is that if Chuck has cancer then it could be operable, but definitely get the thyroid problem treated.

I'd be getting a second opinion on this, you owe it to Chuck to do everything you can so you have no regrets. My parents 18 year old siamese cat just had a needle biopsy done on his swollen arthritic leg to see if it was cancer and it wasn't even though the vet thought it might be.

Good luck Chuck!!
Helpful - 0
587315 tn?1333552783
Hi, the ONLY way that a diagnosis of cancer can be made is with a biopsy.  The only way!  Right now, they are only assuming.  Why not get a biopsy?  You'll have a definite answer then.  If it were me and my cat was having bad side effects, I would discontinue the meds too.  Quality of life is the most important thing, in my opinion.

I will also suggest that you treat your cat's thyroid problem.  There are many dangers in not treating a cat with hyperthyroid disease.  One of them, is putting added stress on your cat's heart.  An overactive thyroid causes the entire body's functions to go into over-drive.  Meaning it accelerates the body's metabolism.  The thyroid gland affects every cell in the body.  Educate yourself and do some research on this condition.

I also can't believe that your vet would not suggest treating it.  If they did not suggest treating the hyperthyroid condition and did not suggest a biopsy, I would seriously consider finding a new vet.  This tells me that your kitty is not getting the great care that he deserves.

Good luck to you!
Helpful - 0
541150 tn?1306033843
Have you asked another vet about this? Why wouldn't he want to do a biopsy? How does he know it is a tumor, and a bad one? Technically, a tumor is just a swelling which may or may not be a cancer. It is not possible for a veterinarian to give you an accurate assessment of your cat's cancer, or develop an appropriate treatment plan for him/her without a definitive diagnosis. Your veterinarian needs to know the type, stage, and behavior of the cancer to start treating it properly. You should definitely seek a second opinion on this. An internal medicine specialist will be very helpful. Yes, your boy is old; but it may not be cancer, and if it is, the vet must tell you what type of cancer your cat has.

Has the vet performed blood test?
Helpful - 0
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