My cat probably has liver cancer - seeking advice

meowmeow666meow

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I have a 14 year old cat (F, spayed). Over the past couple weeks she has lost weight and has been lethargic, so I took her to a vet yesterday.

They found a mass on her liver and did blood work & x-rays. Today the results came back and her liver levels are elevated, and the mass is an irregular shape. I can share these values if they would be helpful.

They suspect cancer but cannot say for sure without an ultrasound & biopsy. They also said she is not a candidate for surgical removal because the tumor is too large.

Unfortunately the vet who examined her is not in again until Monday, and they are giving me a hard time about talking to another vet in the meantime.

I really want more information asap before I decide to schedule an ultrasound for her. I’m hoping folks here can give any information about prognosis for liver cancer treated with chemotherapy or radiation.

The sources I’ve read online all say surgical removal is best, but again she is not a candidate. The sources I’ve found don’t give much information about prognosis for chemo / radiation, but one did say chemotherapy is not recommended.

One thing to note is she had a checkup (with blood work done) in early July and she was perfectly health then. She had hyperthyroidism and in the spring, she had radioactive iodine treatment. It cured her hyperthyroidism but as of early July, she had no clinical signs of liver issues.

Cost is definitely a concern but it won’t inhibit me if the prognosis is good for treatment.

Also, my cat is absolutely terrified of the vet, to an extreme level I’ve never seen before (despite being a friendly cat otherwise). I don’t want to put her through the trauma of cancer treatment if it probably won’t save her life in the end.

Thank you so much. I absolutely love my cat and this is very difficult for me :(
 

fionasmom

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I am sorry that you are facing this. I don't know if this is an option for you or not, but with the information provided by your vet so far, I would ask for a referral to a veterinary oncologist. If this is not possible due to distance, try to get your vet to work with a teaching hospital or referral clinic specialist. As for cost, you may find that talking to an oncologist once will answer all your questions and save you much more money than continuing to let your vet handle this. Also, you don't want your vet guessing at treatments...radiation, chemo, etc. I have taken my pets to several specialists and have always been surprised at how quickly I got an answer, in one case diametrically opposed to what the vet thought.....and the vet was not upset about that because it was exactly the reason for the referral.

While there is primary liver cancer, often the appearance of cancer in that organ is metastatic. It already moved from elsewhere which is something else that you need to know (or maybe your vet had an opinion about this already) before you embark on a major course of treatment. You also need to know the exact kind of liver cancer, as there are several.

Having said all that, I would proceed with the ultrasound initially. Even if your own vet does it, the results can be viewed by anyone you consult.
 
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