I would ask them to remove it, that way I would know for sure instead of questioning myself over and over.
The vet said it would be better to wait and see because there's a slight chance that it's benign and he doesn't want to subject an older cat to surgery if it's not necessary.
I would want to know also - I would ask for a biopsy if they can but they may not be able to do that without pissing it off and if it is a cancer pissing it off is not the best option. Removal would be the best option that way they can send it for biopsy. If it turns out to be a sarcoma then its been removed and yes it is likely to grow back but at least you know and have more time with him. if it is on his leg then amputation may be an option but it would depend on this overall health as to whether that is possible and/or curative.
This is an article that may help you: http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&S=0&C=0&A=526
*hug* Its not easy to make the best decisions!! Keep us updated!
edited: this comment is the second abbreviated version that I tried to post so you may get some version of this more than once, sorry! Edited at 2011-04-03 09:30 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the link. If there's any change, I'll get the biopsy done but I don't want to take a chance of aggravating it, as you said. He's relatively healthy other than the constipation so surgery is a viable option. I just have to hope for the best.
Honestly, because he's 16 you should just leave it. The surgery is more likely to kill him then help at this point. I would keep an eye on it, and do what's right when the time is right. Maintain his health as best you can for now, and make sure he isn't in pain. I hope that you can accept that he's 16 years old and nearing the end of his life. That has to be hard...
This is not necessarily true - if he's otherwise pretty healthy, he could not only do fine during removal or amputation, but he could live quite a while longer. 20+ yo. cats aren't all that uncommon.
The vet said that they think he would be okay with the surgery if it came to that but of course, I'm going to have to do what I think is best for him. Sixteen doesn't seem like the end of life for him because the other three cats are even older. (The oldest just turned twenty-one.) But I'm definitely going to keep a close eye on him.
did the vet tell you it's a fibro-sarcoma? if so, the option is surgery and chimio/radiotherapy and nothing is guaranteed, unfortunately quite often it just buys some months especially when the lump is situated on the back. Quite often too, the lump becomes bigger quite rapidly; it's a good thing to monitor very precisely the size of it, every 2 or 3 days with a simple tape measure. My former vet has had a cat with it; strange enough, in her case the lump remained pretty small during one year and then grew quickly, the cat wasn't an old cat but since the biginning she decided to do nothing, she thought it wasn't worth because some studies shows that surgery doesn't stop the disease. It was her personal choice. A difficult choice because sometimes it's worth of it... My advice is to get all available informations(is there a cancer center in your erea?),and monitor the lump. Did you notice if this is the spot he got his vaccine shoots? Also you may want to see another vet or a specialist for second advice.
That disease seems to let cats unaffected in terms of eating, playing and general mood etc...
For the time being I dearly hope that Jack will recover soon from his treatment and you will be given better news...
The vet said that sarcoma was the most likely explaination because of the hardness of the lump. He mentioned radiation treatment but the cost was pretty high and I don't think I could put him through that at his age. But I'm willing to pursue surgery if it comes to that. I just have to keep monitoring him for now.
As far as I know, radiation comes in addition to surgery. The whole thing being pretty expensive,yes, and without any guaranteed results. Beyond the cost of it, I would ask the vet further and precise explanations about the disease, the treatment, the possible outcomes of it.
Once again as far as I know,the surgery being a pretty aggressive and invasive one, if you decide to go for it, it's better not to wait too long, the lump the smaller the better and because of the lump usually growing fast.This why it's important to monitor the size of it narrowly.
I thought that the vet said that radiation was a separate treatment from surgery but truthfully, I just heard the word "cancer" and my brain sort of froze up so I don't think I asked all the questions I should have. I'll have to go back and ask again when I get a chance.
I so completely understand you. My cat was wrongly diagnosed with a fibro-sarcoma on her back 2.5 years ago. At that time I took several advice from vets, especially from the cancer treatment center and they all agreed that radiation was a requirement in addition to surgery for fibro-sarcoma (especially fibrosarcoma related to raby and vaccine shoots).Maybe the sarcoma of your Jack isn't of the same nature,assuming it is a sarcoma. Past the shock of this
annoucement,you need to understand the disease itself, what the surgery would be,how invasive and painful and the remedy for that(morphine?)in the immediate aftermath of the surgery.
For my cat the lump on her back was about 2.7 cm large, it appeared 6 weeks after a bad fall she had made from a roof,even though I didn't remender it right away at that time. As I said we consulted several vets (with the threat that we were running out of time) even an homeophath who was more skeptical about the fibro-sarcoma diagnosis. I waited, sure that I was doing the wrong thing for my cat, but my sister didn't want to put the cat through so much a heavy surgery and for no guaranteed result;the lump lost ground very little by little after 3 weeks. Like you my cat is everything to me. Since then she has had several serious health issues, I enjoy every day with her even more if possible.
Every case being different I can only tell you to get information the best you can to help make up your mind...