Breast cancer starting to ulcerate

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mustafa811
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Breast cancer starting to ulcerate

Post by mustafa811 »

Nans my cat , developed breast cancer when she was about 16 years old , it started as a pea on one side , but since she was a senior cat , thyrotoxic , diabetic with elevated liver enzymes the vet and us agreed on not doing surgery.

She almost reached her 18 and still act like a healthy cat despite her medical problems , this surpassed what we thought before , we thought she is gonna live for a year or two not further, especially with breast cancer.

The cancer extended to other side and progressed slowly to a lemon sized one on both sides, yesterday i noticed a spot of bloody discharge on my bed sheet for the 1st time, so it looks like one of them will begin to ulcerate to the outside.

So if we leave this ulcerative mass it will bleed, get infected and will cause pain for sure.

So i guess i am left with only 2 options, doing the surgery, or euthanize her 😢, but the cat looks perfectly fine and healthy and the surgery could suceed despite the odds or at least be a palliative option removing the mass to prevent it from ulcerating. (no chemo or radiotherapy options available, it is only surgery and i am taking her to the vet today for doing some labs prior to surgery which could be tomorrow)

So what's your personal opinion, i would love to hear them and i appreciate it, you helped me so much across the past years😢.

Pardon me i am a bit emotional , and everytime she comes near me i cry.
booktigger
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Re: Breast cancer starting to ulcerate

Post by booktigger »

I'm sorry to hear that her cancer is progressing, but I wouldn't put her through surgery, especially now you say she has a lump on the other side - when they remove mammary cancer, they tend to remove the whole strip of nipples, as it tends to just affect one side, but if she has lumps on both sides, the surgery will be even harder than it would have been two years ago, anaesthetic can be hard on older cats, despite precautions, and recovery from that kind of surgery can be hard, my friend had it done on her cat, and the top nipple removal site was hard to heal due to the location and she was only 13. The other thing to consider is that mammary cancer tends to spread to the lungs, and if hers has spread externally, you would need to do a chest x-ray, as if it has spread to her lungs, surgery won't fix everything.
mustafa811
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Re: Breast cancer starting to ulcerate

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booktigger wrote: Thu Nov 25, 2021 7:13 am I'm sorry to hear that her cancer is progressing, but I wouldn't put her through surgery, especially now you say she has a lump on the other side - when they remove mammary cancer, they tend to remove the whole strip of nipples, as it tends to just affect one side, but if she has lumps on both sides, the surgery will be even harder than it would have been two years ago, anaesthetic can be hard on older cats, despite precautions, and recovery from that kind of surgery can be hard, my friend had it done on her cat, and the top nipple removal site was hard to heal due to the location and she was only 13. The other thing to consider is that mammary cancer tends to spread to the lungs, and if hers has spread externally, you would need to do a chest x-ray, as if it has spread to her lungs, surgery won't fix everything.

Thanks booktigger for your reply, i know that the cancer might be spread internally, we will make an xray with the labs today, but whether it had spread or not let us consider it a palliative surgery as ulcerative breast mass will not heal on its own, i also will discuss the idea of just removing the masses locally not the whole mammary chain, i am afraid too that a large scar will definitely be a big burden to heal.

Palliative surgery is not intended for curing the tumour rather than offering a partial solution for the symptoms affecting quality of life.
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Mollycat
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Re: Breast cancer starting to ulcerate

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Mustafa, we can see how much Nans means to you, and you have devoted your time to caring so well for her all this time, you have given her everything a cat could wish for, even in an environment where the most modern and sophisticated treatments are out of reach and vets have a different attitude to the Western pet industry.

It is a very tough time now for you, either way. But for Nans, one way is hard and the other is easy. The physical trauma on an ageing body of anaesthesia, whether it's palliative or curative is really irrelevant at her age, the physical stress of that, then the surgery, then the recovery from surgery, is a lot to ask of her. I find it useful to think of realistically how long she might have left if she was perfectly healthy. I know I am on the hard side but personally after 15/16 I would be unlikely to consider major surgery.

But you know your girl best, and you are asking for advice, so the best thing I can say to you is this:
Advice is something we ask for when we already know the answer but wish we didn't.
I think deep in your heart you already know the best thing to do for Nans - for her, not for yourself. Either way this will be hard for you, but for her there is a hard way and an easy way. What would Nans choose? Because what Nans would want is what you would want for her, I think.
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fjm
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Re: Breast cancer starting to ulcerate

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I think this is one of the times you need to ask your vet's advice, and listen to the subtext. I would be asking how long the op might give her with/without metastasis, and with what quality of life, and how long the recovery from the op will take. If the prognosis is for only a few months of poor quality life and with many weeks of uncomfortable recovery, I would not put her through it. If there is a high probability of one or more years of good quality, the decision would be different. Perhaps discuss the probabilities with the vet and ask them to x-ray before operating, then if the cancer has spread euthanasia instead might be the kinder option.
mustafa811
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Re: Breast cancer starting to ulcerate

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Mollycat wrote: Thu Nov 25, 2021 9:33 am Mustafa, we can see how much Nans means to you, and you have devoted your time to caring so well for her all this time, you have given her everything a cat could wish for, even in an environment where the most modern and sophisticated treatments are out of reach and vets have a different attitude to the Western pet industry.

It is a very tough time now for you, either way. But for Nans, one way is hard and the other is easy. The physical trauma on an ageing body of anaesthesia, whether it's palliative or curative is really irrelevant at her age, the physical stress of that, then the surgery, then the recovery from surgery, is a lot to ask of her. I find it useful to think of realistically how long she might have left if she was perfectly healthy. I know I am on the hard side but personally after 15/16 I would be unlikely to consider major surgery.

But you know your girl best, and you are asking for advice, so the best thing I can say to you is this:
Advice is something we ask for when we already know the answer but wish we didn't.
I think deep in your heart you already know the best thing to do for Nans - for her, not for yourself. Either way this will be hard for you, but for her there is a hard way and an easy way. What would Nans choose? Because what Nans would want is what you would want for her, I think.
Thanks molly for your kindness, it is difficult i know , theoretically if i felt she is in pain i wouldn't hesitate to euthanize her, but thinking about it, can i really do it ?! I always thought if she was gonna die i would be by her side at the moment, but can i if i ordered them to euthanize her ?!

So am gonna hold on these thoughts for now, just did an xray to assess the spread, i didn't see it, the regular vet think it is good, but he will postpone the results till the vet surgeon sees it, and he will discuss the case with him and suggest the idea of only removing the massess locally not the whole mammary chain.
fjm wrote: Thu Nov 25, 2021 9:41 am I think this is one of the times you need to ask your vet's advice, and listen to the subtext. I would be asking how long the op might give her with/without metastasis, and with what quality of life, and how long the recovery from the op will take. If the prognosis is for only a few months of poor quality life and with many weeks of uncomfortable recovery, I would not put her through it. If there is a high probability of one or more years of good quality, the decision would be different. Perhaps discuss the probabilities with the vet and ask them to x-ray before operating, then if the cancer has spread euthanasia instead might be the kinder option.
Thanks fjm , this is really the main issue, i am waiting for the vet surgeon to talk about the odds, we already did an x-ray and waiting for his opinion, we will do full labs later to further assess the situation.

Sharing your perspectives means alot for me, i wish no one to be put in this situation.
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Re: Breast cancer starting to ulcerate

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I'm glad the x-ray seems like it hasn't spread to her lungs, but I still wouldn't put her through removal even for palliative, putting aside the fact that only removing the mass rather than the whole strip isn't the best idea given it has recently spread, it is very tough surgery to recover from, my friend did regret putting her cat through it, because it was a long recovery for a healthy 13 year old, the fact that Nan is 18 with other health issues, you could find that she deteriorates rapidly.
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Re: Breast cancer starting to ulcerate

Post by mr_frisky »

Did she need a general anaesthetic for her x-ray, or just sedation?
mustafa811
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Re: Breast cancer starting to ulcerate

Post by mustafa811 »

booktigger wrote: Thu Nov 25, 2021 6:40 pm I'm glad the x-ray seems like it hasn't spread to her lungs, but I still wouldn't put her through removal even for palliative, putting aside the fact that only removing the mass rather than the whole strip isn't the best idea given it has recently spread, it is very tough surgery to recover from, my friend did regret putting her cat through it, because it was a long recovery for a healthy 13 year old, the fact that Nan is 18 with other health issues, you could find that she deteriorates rapidly.
I am reconsidering putting her through surgery, i feel the vet isn't totally honest with me and all he cares about is the sugery fees, i will seek another vet opinion.
mr_frisky wrote: Thu Nov 25, 2021 11:08 pm Did she need a general anaesthetic for her x-ray, or just sedation?
Look she wasn't sedated, and ppl are not permitted into the x-ray room without a proper vest, i just saw a glimpse of 2 ppl holding her firmly before exiting the room.
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Mollycat
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Re: Breast cancer starting to ulcerate

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mustafa811 wrote: Thu Nov 25, 2021 10:59 am Thanks molly for your kindness, it is difficult i know , theoretically if i felt she is in pain i wouldn't hesitate to euthanize her, but thinking about it, can i really do it ?! I always thought if she was gonna die i would be by her side at the moment, but can i if i ordered them to euthanize her ?!

So am gonna hold on these thoughts for now, just did an xray to assess the spread, i didn't see it, the regular vet think it is good, but he will postpone the results till the vet surgeon sees it, and he will discuss the case with him and suggest the idea of only removing the massess locally not the whole mammary chain.
I lost a cat in Covid lockdown when we were not allowed in to the vets surgery with our animals, but many of them here made an exception for euthanasia. We were both able to go in with Purdy (my cat from a previous relationship) and be with her. This is something you should ask your vets, whether you can hold Nans. They may even be able to come to your home.

Perhaps if it is palliative not with any hope of a cure they might agree to remove only the lump, again you need to ask them about that. And as fjm says, a very frank discussion and everything on the table, even the things we can't bear to think let alone say out loud.

You also need to consider the very real possibility that Nans is hiding her illness well from you, as cats do, and that you could decide for surgery and her heart would give out, then you could lose her without the opportunity to be holding her as she slips away.
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