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Mirandajo July 4th, 2012 12:26 PM

Cancer diagnosis - any experience in this?
Hi all,

I'm sorry if this gets lengthy, but I want to get as much info out there as possible about the situation.

Felix, my wonderful little kittycat, was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma yesterday. He is, and has been FIV+ since I was adopted by him 8 years ago. In about December, I noticed him pawing at his mouth after he ate. Took him to the vet and they said it was stomatitis. Gave him antibiotics, and sent him on his way. He went in March 2012 for his yearly teeth cleaning, and they found abnormal cells and his x-rays looked abnormal as well. His sample went out for biopsy, and it came back negative for cancer. The vet said that it was a bad bone infection. I believed him. He went back on antibiotics for a super long time, and the lump still wasn't going away.

A week ago Monday, he went in to go under and get his mouth really looked at. They said that the mass was larger (still assuming it was an infection), and he suggested a mandibulectomy. Felix had the entire half of his lower jaw removed. The vet asked if I wanted the jaw sent out for biopsy, but he wasn't leaning toward cancer, so the biopsy was up to me. I wanted it sent out.

Felix wasn't eating, and we were syringe feeding him so I asked the vet if I could get some appetite stimulant for Felix. He called me back with the biopsy results. Squamous cell carcinoma, and they did not get clean margins. I don't even know what that means, but it sounds terrible. He said he's going to talk to the oncologist and pathologist to see where the cancer cells spread, and then I could set up an appointment for Felix with an oncologist.

Chemotherapy and radiation may be an option, I still don't know. I want to know what the quality of life is. Yesterday and today Felix improved by leaps and bounds, and he's even eating a little bit of food on his own.

All the "studies" I've read about SCC in cats is that it's pretty much fatal. Then again, it seems as though the study groups are pretty small.

So, has anyone had experience with this? Technically Felix has had SCC since March, and he's survived with no ill effects this long. His first and only treatment was last week when he had his jaw removed. I've heard this is fast-moving and kills cats very, very quickly. If he's had it since March, how did he make it this far? Is there any sort of hope for him? Has anyone had chemotherapy and radiation on their cats? Did they respond well? Has anyone actually had their cat live longer than 6-8 months? Sorry for all the questions, but I'm hoping someone out there can give me a bit of hope or just the dirty truth.

Felix was doing pretty bad for the week after his surgery, but he is doing amazingly well now.

Thanks in advance, everyone!

marko July 5th, 2012 10:01 AM

I don't have any experience at this but wanted to put out some positive thoughts for you and kitty. :goodvibes: :goodvibes: So sorry you are going through this. Thanks for being such a wonderful pet owner.

hazelrunpack July 5th, 2012 10:27 AM

I wish I had some advice for you, Mirandajo. Such a tough situation. :grouphug: I hope the oncologist can give you the answers you're looking for. Best wishes for you and Felix :goodvibes:

Mirandajo July 5th, 2012 06:15 PM

Thank you! Positive thoughts are much appreciated and needed! Everything I've read so far seems pretty darn grim, but he's a little fighter, so I'm hoping for the best. :)

RUSTYcat July 6th, 2012 04:30 PM

Welcome to the forum, Mirandajo!

I can only say what I would do...

First, I'd get the earliest possible appointment with the oncologist.

Then, I'd be connecting with these people [url][/url] The group has been running for 13 years - that's a lot of experience to tap into!

Most of us do not realize that there is real-time ongoing research into feline cancers (and other conditions as well). The following link is not to raise any expectations for you, but it is certainly uplifting information - and, something I would print off and take to that oncologist for discussion: [B][COLOR="Blue"][url]!+Mail[/url] [/COLOR][/B]

Keep us posted...thinking of you

Mirandajo July 6th, 2012 09:35 PM

Excellent! Thank you so much for the information.

I have an appointment for Felix on Monday to get his stitches out, and the vet is supposed to tell me then if it's even recommended to go to an oncologist. I'm not so sure I care (or trust) what my regular vet has to say - especially considering he missed this cancer back in March. So, I'm thinking about calling the oncologist on Monday to get Felix in ASAP. The earlier he gets treated, the better.

Thank you for the links, I will check them out.

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