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WHAT IS STOMACH AND INTESTINAL CANCER (LEIOMYOSARCOMA) IN CATS?
Stomach and intestinal cancer is also known as leiomyosarcoma, which arises from the smooth muscles of the stomach and intestines.
Leiomyosarcoma is an uncommon cancerous tumour that is an extremely serious and painful disease.
This cancer has a tendency to metastasize (or spread) to other areas in the gastrointestinal tract and other body organs.
RISK FACTORS FOR LEIOMYOSARCOMA
This cancer affects mostly older cats (older than six years). All breeds are equally susceptible to leiomyosarcoma.
SYMPTOMS OF LEIOMYOSARCOMA
Leiomyosarcoma in cats is a silent killer because it often goes undetected.
A cat with stomach cancer rarely shows symptoms and therefore, its diagnosis and treatment are difficult.
Some of the signs of this cancer are also symptoms of common stomach disorders, which makes diagnosis even more difficult.
Most symptoms are related to the gastrointestinal tract and may include:
- Loss of appetite
- Lethargy and weakness
- Weight loss
- Breathing problems
- Frequent stomach problems
- Blood in stool
- Growling or rumbling sounds in stomach
- Feeling of incomplete defecation
- Weight loss
If your cat is showing any of the above symptoms, your veterinarian will first take a full history. Be sure to provide as much information as possible to aid in the diagnosis. They will then conduct a full medical examination. In many cases, further tests will be required to rule out other more common causes of the above-mentioned symptoms. The vet will generally start with blood tests and often x-rays and ultrasound examinations will be needed. To make a definitive diagnosis of leiomyosarcoma, the vet may need to do surgery to get a biopsy of the stomach wall.
Treatment usually depends on the stage of cancer. When surgery is indicated, it usually involves removal of the tumour mass along with some normal tissue.
Post-operative pain and inflammation following biopsy or surgery can be reduced.