Radiation cancer therapy worth it? Side Effects?

syzygycat

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Luke has terminal tumor around his jaw he's got 3weeks-3months with no treatment.
I'm curious what your experience has been with (palliative) radiation therapy and if its worth it?

I don't care about the cost at all I specifically, want to know how stressful, painful it is? How long the side effects last? etc.
I want to decrease his suffering til its time to say goodbye not to extend his life by a couple of months but have him in be in more pain.
 

mrsgreenjeens

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Here is one thread that talks a little bit about it:


Have you discussed using Pred and pain killers vs radiation?
 
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syzygycat

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Here is one thread that talks a little bit about it:

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Have you discussed using Pred and pain killers vs radiation?
We got the Prednisone (work like gangbuster for the 1st 4 hours). A dab of Mirtazapine on his ear to help appetite. He hasn't lost any weight yet. Pain killers on standby. Doesn't need it yet.

Palliative options are The radiation would be a 20min dose a week (hour with anesthesia to kick in and wear off).
Or 10min of radiation 8 days back to back.

Aggressive radiation to try to eradicate probably won't work anditd be 2 hours 4 days a week for a month. And he'd need a feeding tube probably permanently. I can't do that to him.

The radiation might cause ulcers might not. "might be mild and heal quickly" to "might be severe and never heal". No way of knowing how well the cancer will respond or how bad the side effects would be either way. It's a tough decision.
 

silent meowlook

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Hi. I am sorry for what Jack is going through. Is the tumor in his jaw bone? Are they calling it an osteosarcoma? Or a shamus cell carcinoma? Either way, there is not a good prognosis. It, sometimes cats don’t follow rules.

Are you working with or seeing an oncologist?
 
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syzygycat

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Hi. I am sorry for what Jack is going through. Is the tumor in his jaw bone? Are they calling it an osteosarcoma? Or a shamus cell carcinoma? Either way, there is not a good prognosis. It, sometimes cats don’t follow rules.

Are you working with or seeing an oncologist?
No tumor in the jaw bone, no jaw bone anymore.
Luke has squamous cell carcinoma (oral). It grows fast in size but is slow to spread into other types of tumors. other face parts doen't "have a tumor" it's just a plum sized tumor in his face where the other parts should be.
 

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My cat Lola had three cancers in her life.
The first one was a nasal carcinoma, inside one of her nostrils, impossible to operate on. She was 11 years old.
The oncologist presented me with three options:
-Do nothing, 6 months to live top, with incredible pains and suffering.
-Palliative radiotherapy treatment (6 or 8 sessions), rather affordable, but palliative, with very little or no chances of success.
-Full radiotherapy treatment (16 daily sessions), very expensive, with a feeble chance of success, though, they told me, no cat ever survived longer than 12 months after treatment.

They told me that the radiotherapy would have been extremely heavy on Lola's body, and it would have been extremely heavy on my spirit and finances. According to them it wasn't worth it, but I wanted to follow this path, and my cat not only felt better, but lived 64 months longer, being maybe the first cat in veterinary records to survive a nasal carcinoma, as the oncologists told me two years later.

Yes, Lola was weak for over a year after the treatment, and probably she never fully recovered her energy, but she was able to live her life, face her second carcinoma (in one adrenal gland) and survive the surgery to remove it, before being diagnosed with the third carcinoma and undergo another heavy radiotherapy treatment.

I think that if money isn't an issue, it is well worth it. This is my opinion.
 

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I dont have much personal experience to add. Just what ive seen on rescue groups and one person I know personally. For oral cancer, theyve all regreted the treatments and wished theyd gone with quality over quantity.

Im sorry youre in this space to make these impossible decisions ❣
 

neely

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Our last cat had cancer of the mandible which was diagnosed when I brought her in for FORL. The veterinary dental specialist told us it's one of the most painful forms of cancer. We had her on painkillers from a compound pharmacy but this feisty, spunky feline was so withdrawn and lethargic she succumbed to her illness 😿
 

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Luke has terminal tumor around his jaw he's got 3weeks-3months with no treatment.
I'm curious what your experience has been with (palliative) radiation therapy and if its worth it?

I don't care about the cost at all I specifically, want to know how stressful, painful it is? How long the side effects last? etc.
I want to decrease his suffering til its time to say goodbye not to extend his life by a couple of months but have him in be in more pain.
I am so sorry about this diagnosis. I hate cancer so much.
With my cats (and dogs) who have been given this diagnosis, I consider the treatment options, and then consider them and where they are at the time the diagnosis is given.
How is their appetite, currently? How are their spirits? How do they seem to be feeling on a day to day basis? Are they still using their litter box, with normal urine/stools? Do they still enjoy things they used to (playing, bird watching out the window, doing little things like joining you on the couch when you watch TV, etc.?)
One of the vets who worked with my very sick dog would ask me, "how is his OSWB?" That stood for "overall sense of well being," encompassing all these questions. And, since I know them better than anyone else, do I feel they are good candidates for frequent vet visits? When I look into their eyes, do I see a spunk and a will to live?
These aren't necessarily questions that require a "yes or no" answer, but it's taking the entire picture of how they're presenting what is wrong with them and using that as my guide. It's such a difficult and lonely place to be. My heart goes out to you and Luke.
 
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syzygycat

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I am so sorry about this diagnosis. I hate cancer so much.
With my cats (and dogs) who have been given this diagnosis, I consider the treatment options, and then consider them and where they are at the time the diagnosis is given.
How is their appetite, currently? How are their spirits? How do they seem to be feeling on a day to day basis? Are they still using their litter box, with normal urine/stools? Do they still enjoy things they used to (playing, bird watching out the window, doing little things like joining you on the couch when you watch TV, etc.?)
One of the vets who worked with my very sick dog would ask me, "how is his OSWB?" That stood for "overall sense of well being," encompassing all these questions. And, since I know them better than anyone else, do I feel they are good candidates for frequent vet visits? When I look into their eyes, do I see a spunk and a will to live?
These aren't necessarily questions that require a "yes or no" answer, but it's taking the entire picture of how they're presenting what is wrong with them and using that as my guide. It's such a difficult and lonely place to be. My heart goes out to you and Luke.
He's 100% himself. Has diarrhea but that's from all the antibiotics or lickable treats. He's slower moving. Still climbs into bed with me, still meet me at the door.
Only the eating is going poorly. He wasn't to eat, his gums are very sensitive and bleeding a little, anything that sticks to his mouth at all irritates him.

I made him a chicken yesterday (we're vegetarian so not common). He was at my feet howling for it. But He ate 3 tiny mushed shred before it got to irritating. I pureed it with water in a smoothie machine but saucer but it he didn't like that.

I bought some human baby food today. Maybe that'll be easier.

I'm terrified he's mouth gets worse from the radiation and he refuses to eat liquid food. That's be the end.
 
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iPappy

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He's 100% himself. Has diarrhea but that's from all the antibiotics or lickable treats. He's slower moving. Still climbs into bed with me, still meet me at the door.
Only the eating is going poorly. He wasn't to eat, his gums are very sensitive and bleeding a little, anything that sticks to his mouth at all irritates him.

I made him a chicken yesterday (we're vegetarian so not common). He was at my feet howling for it. But He ate 3 tiny mushed shred before it got to irritating. I pureed it with water in a smoothie machine but saucer but it he didn't like that.

I bought some human baby food today. Maybe that'll be easier.

I'm terrified he's mouth gets worse from the radiation and he refuses to eat liquid food. That's be the end.
Was he able to eat some baby food today? Churu is another thing you could try, most cats love it and it's very easy for them to eat. :hugs:
 

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Think I’m with iPappy on overall sense of well being on this one. You’d think with all this science, by now, we’d finally have a handle on cancers, and I believe we will, one day. It sounds as if you vet is being really open and honest with you. I guess it’s a matter of weighing the suffering your cat might go through versus what he will go through without this intense treatment. Either way, you have all our support here. :grouphug:
 
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syzygycat

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Was he able to eat some baby food today? Churu is another thing you could try, most cats love it and it's very easy for them to eat. :hugs:
I have another thread going from when is all started about 2 weeks ago.
Over the weekend I was able to figure out a way to get his foods edible... I have to strain it through a sieve/screen/dust filter. No had lumps, nothing to get stuck in his mouth and he can scarf it down. (he doesnt trust the old cat food bowls anymore, but he knows the saucers I used for lickable treats are safe (for now) Once he realized it wont hurt he started scarfing down the food again. Doesn't claw at his mouth when he eats it, no more bleding from his lip. All great signs.
Ive tracked all the cats weight and food since 2020. This boy avaraged 230 cal a day.
Past 4 days He's gotten 120,150, 170, and today is 11am and already ate 110cal (ahead of schedule). 60% of his calories from real cat food, 40% from other stuff.

He still has diarrhea. Though it was from the gabapentin which was stopped a long time ago. Might be from the treats or the after affects of the antibiotics he was on. Or the steroids hes taking. (I also used to limit fish flavors to 1 meal out of 20, now its 1 meal out of 3... could be messing with his stomach).

He seems happy and purring, he crawled into bed with us last night. Even woke me up early with his bunting.6am we played with his mouse on a stick toy. Then spent half an hour watching the solar panel salesman out the window go door down the block.
My mind has a hard time making sense with this cat being sick/dying soon.


Think I’m with iPappy on overall sense of well being on this one. You’d think with all this science, by now, we’d finally have a handle on cancers, and I believe we will, one day. It sounds as if you vet is being really open and honest with you. I guess it’s a matter of weighing the suffering your cat might go through versus what he will go through without this intense treatment. Either way, you have all our support here. :grouphug:
The radiation treatment we're going with is supposed to be palliative. He's get 5-10% of the total radiation a "curative" treatment gets. And he has 6 day brake between treatments rather than the normal daily radiation therapy.
Much lower risk of side effects than if they were trying to cure him (or shrink the tumor). If he reacts poorly to it we'll have a week before the next treatment to decide to stop.

If the Dr's "pitch" is to be believed. His life expectancy will be a la few weeks to a couple of months longer with this treatment, but alot of the time left should be pain free. (which is all I want for him).

All the pain receptors inside the tumor are obliterated so he shouldnt be feeling anything other than places the tumor is pushing on. Those are the places they'll be targeting the radiation. Optimistic but still reasonable expectations is 3-4 pain free months. (if the tumor responds to radiation at all, apparently some tumors don't)


If the doctor is to be trusted, this once a week therapy with oral steroids gives him the most "quality time" .

The aggressive therapies are available, it seems like those are more for the owners than the cat. Month of twice a day radiation. Then remove his eye, and left upper and lower jaw, half the nose. another few weeks sedated then put him on strong opiods and a feeding tube. He could last 3-12 miserable months that way, His eye isnt affected, thed remove it to have more skin to pull and sew up the gap in his face. And the cancer would still kill him, not a cure just a way to slow it. It was shocking to hear it was an option.
 
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syzygycat

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thank you everyone for the support and the feedback.

P.s. this My little man today. As always he is extraordinarily empathetic, always smooshes up on my face, grooms my beard, lays at my feet when I'm upset. He doesn't know I'm sad about his prognosis. It's making it much harder to come to terms with everything.
(and the lump under his eye is the tumor that's up-ended our lives)
luke priv.png
 

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What a sweet looking little boy! I think that you are taking exceptional care of him in every way possible and that possibly the radiation might buy him a little more time than is projected.
 

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It sounds like you have weighed all the options available, and have chosen your course based on multiple factors...most importantly, his overall quality of life. I think you're doing a great job caring for him and it's great you found a way to prepare his food that he can eat with no hesitation or trouble!
I feel for you. I've dealt with cancers in cats and dogs, many more times than I want to count and every single case is unique, and agonizing in it's own way when it comes to making important decisions for our best friends that can't speak for themselves. :hugs:
 
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syzygycat

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1st treatment done. He smells like a burnt hair dryer. A little puffy around the area. And he was too lethargic to jump on the bed, did his hooting sound til I picked him up and placed up.
1000016062.jpg
1000016096.jpg
And they shaved his little arms for the IV.
 

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1st treatment done. He smells like a burnt hair dryer. A little puffy around the area. And he was too lethargic to jump on the bed, did his hooting sound til I picked him up and placed up.
Glad that the first treatment has been done and all was fine.
I chuckled at the fact that he smells like a burnt hair dryer. I don't know about this, my Lola was held at the facility for the whole time and was given back to me at the end.
Though I could have her in the weekend when I stayed with her in the room of a pet friendly hotel next to the facility. I don't remember any smell...
 

iPappy

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1st treatment done. He smells like a burnt hair dryer. A little puffy around the area. And he was too lethargic to jump on the bed, did his hooting sound til I picked him up and placed up. View attachment 474451View attachment 474450And they shaved his little arms for the IV.
I hope you both are doing well and you have time for some snuggles with one another today. He's such a beautiful cat. 💕
 
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syzygycat

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I hope you both are doing well and you have time for some snuggles with one another today. He's such a beautiful cat. 💕
Thank you.
He demanded 90minutes straight on my lap getting neck scratches, not weird for him.

The other four cats, inversely, are acting very weird for the past few days.
 
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