Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Healthy Cats

Font Size

Treating Tumors and Cancer in Cats

Cancer Treatments

  • Surgery ‑ Surgery can completely remove a cancer or make it smaller so that chemotherapy and radiation are more effective. Risks include anesthesia, bleeding problems, and postoperative pain. Cures are possible with certain cancers and early intervention.
  • Chemotherapy ‑ Chemotherapy uses drugs to try to kill the cancer cells with the least amount of damage to normal cells. Side effects can include nausea, lowered immunity, and bleeding problems. Cats don’t usually experience major hair loss. Not all cancers are susceptible to chemotherapy.
  • Radiation ‑Radiation uses specially calibrated X-rays to damage cancer tissues with the least amount of damage possible to normal
    tissues. Side effects include tissue sloughing, lowered immunity, and damage to normal tissue. Anesthesia is required. This treatment is only available at veterinary referral centers. Not all cancers are susceptible to radiation and the location of the cancer may make this impossible.
  • Cryotherapy ‑ Cryotherapy uses probes to freeze cancerous tissues. The goal is to destroy the cancer with the least damage to surrounding normal tissues. This is only available at veterinary referral centers. Not all cancers are susceptible to cryotherapy, and the location of the cancer may make this therapy impossible.
  • Hyperthermy ‑ Hyperthermy uses heat probes or radiation to destroy cancerous tissues by overheating them. The goal is to destroy the cancer with the least damage to surrounding normal tissues. This is only available at veterinary referral centers. Not all cancers are susceptible to heat damage. The location of the cancer may make this therapy impossible.
  • Diet ‑ Diet has been shown to be helpful in controlling cancer. The goal is a diet with limited simple sugars, moderate amounts of complex sugars such as carbohydrates, highly digestible protein in moderate amounts, and set amounts of certain types of fats. These dietary guidelines tend to “starve” the cancer cells and help the normal cells stay healthy.
  • Immunotherapy ‑ Immunotherapy uses immune reactions to fight off the cancer cells. This method may use a nonspecific immune modifier such as interferon, or vaccines specifically tailored to the cancer of the individual. Much of this work is experimental but shows great promise.

1|2

WebMD Veterinary Reference from "Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook"

Today on WebMD

kitten with onions
Slideshow
Night stalking cat
Slideshow
 
Young woman holding Papillon
Slideshow
Kitten playing
Quiz
 
cat on couch
Evaluator
Kitten using litter box
Quiz
 
sleeping kitten
Slideshow
sad kitten looking at milk glass
Slideshow
 
cat at table
Slideshow
muddy dog on white sofa
Quiz
 
Maine Coon cat breed
Article
Pets: Behavior Problems in Cats
Slideshow