my cat has fibrosarcoma

My 13 year old cat was recently diagnosed with a grade 2 fibrosarcoma growth on her left side. I would like to have some treatment done for her, although I am aware that the outlook for feline fibrosarcoma is often poor. At any rate, the vet we go to is relatively young, and still consults with his colleagues at his college for problems he hasn’t had experience with. He does not seem to have any experience with treating fibrosarcoma, and he is recommending surgery to remove as much of the tumor as possible, which has invaded several of her mammary glands. He says that radiation treatment is possible, but doesn’t know much about it.

Could anyone share any information from their own experience? I would really appreciate any knowledge on feline fibrosarcoma and treatment, both surgical and radiation.

Thank you for taking the time to help me.

Well, I am not a vet and I doubt I can be of much direct help for your specific case.

However I did have a 17-year old cat w/ a very fast-developing fibrosarcoma on one of her rear legs, right above the foot. My advice from a veterinary oncology specialist was pretty much the same as you got. Apparently fibrosarcomas are very aggressively locally invasive ( and in my poor cat’s case it was astoninshing how rapidly the damn thing popped up and grew ), however don’t tend to metastasize remotely, so surgery with as wide an excision zone as possible is usually the best treatment. With my pet the only really good treatment ption was amputation - the tumor was all into her foot and tendons and trying to just excise the tumor and treat w/radiation, in addition to being more expensive and probably stressful for her ( at 17, I didn’t want to do anything that would make her miserably ill for the rest of what might well be a short life at her age ), was a lot less likely to be successful. So after some agonizing, assurances from multiple vets that cats generally adjusted quite well to a three-legged existence w/reasonably good quality of life and her blood work and x-rays ( showing her spine and hips were in good enough shape to bear the strain ) showed she was up to it, I had her leg amputated at the hip. As it turned out she did indeed recover quite nicely and very quickly. Unfortunately she died several months later from a heart attack while coming out of anaesthesia ( she was in to have an abscessed tooth removed ), so I can’t really say if the treatment was definitive, but my understanding is that such surgeries tend to basically fully curative when the tumor can be removed so thoroughly.

A tumor on the side I imagine it is a more difficult situation, as some ribs may be involved. 13 isn’t as ancient as my cat was, but is still technically geriatric, I believe. I’d be inclined to follow whatever treatment had the best combination of a) the best chance of success and b) whatever will give her the best quality of life for her remaining years. In my case, I wouldn’t have pursued chemo or radiation for that latter reason. If surgery hadn’t been an option, I would probably have had her euthanized. But every circumstance is different.

Whatever you decide, best of luck :).

  • Tamerlane

Actually, I think it was mid-thigh.

  • Tamerlane

We just had to euthanize our oldest cat – about 14+ – after a fibrosarcoma. It started about a year ago, on his back between the shoulders. They removed as much as possible, including some muscle, and he seemed to recover quite fine. About 9 - 10 months later it reoccurred and had apparently metastasized to other internal organs. We treated him as kindly as we could until it was obvious that he was no longer getting any enjoyment out of his life. So we bought him another summer, which we were glad to do, and spoiled him even more than usual.

We rejected the idea of putting him through chemo or radiation, wanting to spare him the side effects. A major factor was his age. It did not seem to us worth the travails of more major treatment that would have made him uncomfortable and bought him at most another few months that he would not have enjoyed anyway. I believe that most people find those treatments trying, but at least it’s voluntary, they understand why, and it may buy many more happy and productive years. But an animal doesn’t know why it feels bad, and it seemed to me to be unkind to subject him to that.

We also got the same advice that these tumors can spread in local tentacles and are difficult to get completely out. Once the second flare-up happened, he seemed to go downhill very rapidly.

That said, of course what made sense to me and my family may or may not be true for you.

My thoughts are with you; these things are never easy.