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Cancer in Cats: Types, Symptoms, Prevention, and Treatment

WebMD veterinary expert answers commonly asked questions about cancer in cats.
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A: Probably $500 to $1,000 to do the initial diagnostic testing. Then it costs anywhere from $800 to $2,000 for surgical approaches. Chemotherapy is $2,000 to $3,000, and then radiation can be $5,000 or $6,000. (Note: These are costs for treatment at a specialist. Prices at a general veterinary practice may be much less. Costs may also vary a lot depending on where you live.)

 

Q: If treated, what’s the cure rate for cats with cancer?

A: That’s hard to say because there are so many different types of cancers and so many variables. But I would say overall the survival rate for cats, if we’re including every type of malignancy, is probably less than 50%. But it all depends on the tumor type, when it is found, and how it is treated.

I would recommend, whenever an animal is diagnosed with cancer, that the owner consult with a veterinary oncologist. Things are changing so fast, not just in terms of treatments but also clinical trials or novel treatments, that there may be treatments available that most veterinarians aren’t aware of. You may think there’s nothing that can be done, but things are changing all the time.

 

Q: What can I do to prevent my cat from getting cancer?

A: Spaying your cat will drastically reduce her chance of getting mammary cancer. Preventing the development of feline leukemia, either through vaccinations or making sure when you get a cat that the cat hasn’t been exposed to feline leukemia, will decrease the likelihood of developing lymphoma.

But it’s so hard to say how to prevent something when you don’t know what causes it most of the time. So early evaluation and detection is probably the better approach in terms of improving outcome.

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Reviewed on April 29, 2012
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