Cancer is a scary diagnosis. The emotional stress associated with a cancer diagnosis for your cat can be made worse by obtaining misinformation or no information at all. What questions should you ask your veterinarian to get your cat’s cancer treatment on the right road?
1. What type of cancer does my cat have?
Many different types of cancer (sarcomas, carcinomas, round cells tumors, etc.) exist. Knowing the exact type of cancer will allow you to ask the right questions and do the right research.
2. What other diagnostic tests or staging tests should my vet do?
Often, the diagnosis of cancer is only the beginning. Further tests (ultrasounds, radiographs, blood tests, etc.) are often recommended to help better classify the disease and/or determine if the disease has spread to other locations.
3. What treatment options are available for this type of cancer?
Treatment for cancer is often a multi-modality approach. Treatment options might include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy or immunotherapy. Knowing all potential treatment options will help you make the most informed decision.
4. Should I seek the help of a specialist, such as an oncologist, surgeon or radiologist?
General practitioners are wonderful but cancer is a huge category of diseases with a lot of different potential treatment options. Seeking the help of a veterinarian who has spent an additional 4-5 years of training just in oncology may be needed to decide upon the best treatment plan for your pet.
5. Is my cat currently in pain? If so, what can we do about it?
Cats are very good at hiding their symptoms. Although your cat may not act like he or she is in pain (crying, whining, etc.) your cat still could be in pain. Imagine if you had the same problem as your cat, like an ulcerated tumor in your mouth or a tumor that is destroying your leg bone – would you be in pain? If the answer is, ‘Yes,’ then your cat is likely experiencing pain and would benefit from pain medications.
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