or Connect
TheCatSite.com › Forums › Our Feline Companions › Cat Health › Squamous Cell Carcinoma Treatment?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Squamous Cell Carcinoma Treatment?

post #1 of 43
Thread Starter 
As I expected, my cat Bullseye has SCC, a malignant oral tumor.

Initially the only information I received suggested surgery followed by radiation therapy. Due to the location and size of the tumor, he probably wouldn't survive past six months. With only pain management, they're saying maybe two months. Today I did some research on carboplatin, a form of chemo that is given IV. I haven't found any statistics about the median survival time, mainly because I don't think there are any studies out there on this particular treatment. I'm waiting for a call from an oncology vet in Portland tomorrow where this procedure is performed. It's given IV without sedation and takes 10-15 minutes according to the tech I spoke to. They continue to give the treatment every 3 weeks, as long as it continues to shrink the tumor. Very expensive.

Has anyone had any experience with carboplatin treatment? I'm grasping at straws here. I've got him on Metacam now, which seems to be keeping him comfortable and able to eat. They're not worried about keeping him on it despite the long term side effects, because...there is no long term. He couldn't even eat before that...his mouth was so sore.

The growth is on top, and toward the back of his mouth. According to one specialist I spoke to, this is the worst place because they can't get it all surgically. We've already decided that surgery and radiation are not an option.

Also, I don't intend to go with a feeding tube. That's not how I want to go, and not something I would do to a friend.
post #2 of 43
Oh honey ... I so wish I could help, but I have no experience at all with cancer treatment in cats. I just wanted to say that I can feel the love you have for your Bullseye in your words and it touched my heart. I hope you can find the answers you seek and that you and Bullseye have a lot more happy memories to make before the time comes for you to part.
post #3 of 43
I, too, have no advice. I'm sorry that you & your baby boy Bullseye are going through this. He's so lucky to have him on your side. We're all here for you....whatever you need. ....hugs....
post #4 of 43
Thread Starter 
I just received a callback from a holistic/naturopathic vet in the Portland area who I left a message with yesterday. We discussed three cases of SCC she had treated, two of which had results around 6 months. This is pretty close to what I'd expect with surgery and radiation, at a fraction of the cost. I'm going to do some further reading about it. My own personal experience with acupuncture has been good.

My personal vet is supposed to call me tomorrow with his info about the carboplatin treatment. The cost may be the deciding factor no matter what he says. Each treatment runs $800, and the initial information is that he would need to receive one treatment every three weeks. (yeah, multiply that out) The holistic vet was $200 for the first visit and exam, then $75 each visit thereafter. (which did not include the price of drugs)

To top it all off...this morning I go out and I notice one of my ferals can't jump up to the bottom rung of the cat tree. (only about 12 inches off the ground) I catch her and take her in asap. Upon examination the vet thinks it's either diabetic neuropathy, thyroid or cancer. Her rear legs have atrophied in a very short period of time. We start out with bloodwork, which should be back tomorrow morning. Tell me....if it's diabetes or thyroid, how do I medicate a cat twice a day that takes 15 minutes to catch? (and that's indoors)

post #5 of 43
Cinder, I'm so sorry about your kitty. I went through this with my dog, my sweet little pekingese Sushi. Hers too was on the roof of her mouth towards the back. My vet didn't recommend any treatment. She said that surgery would be torture for her and that mouth cancer was so agressive it usually didn't respond to treatment. Besides my regular vet I sometimes use a holistic vet and she said the same thing. Sushi was given about 6 months by the regular vet but the holistic vet didn't think she would last that long and she didn't. We had her for three months after her initial diagnosis. The vet just recommended keeping her comfortable and on an antibiotic for the infection that developed in her mouth. I did have to add water to her wet food so that it had a gravy like consistancy or she couldn't eat it. The vet said I would know when it was time to let her go because she would stop eating. It just broke my heart and I feel for you and your kitty having to go through this. I have no advice to offer about the chemo but if the oncologist thinks it might help without causing her more discomfort I guess I might consider trying it. .
post #6 of 43
I have no advice to offer, I just wanted to say that I'm sorry that you and your kitties are having to go through this.
post #7 of 43
Thread Starter 
Thanks guys, I appreciate your good thoughts. It has been a bad week. I kept thinking the other shoe was going to drop, and today it finally did. But in all the information I've read, one thing sticks out in my mind.

There was a cancer website that told me to see my pet, not the disease. I wrestle with him, rub his belly...act like the only moment that matters is now. It's hard though. I'm not a stranger to cancer. Both my parents and now my kitties are slowly but surely losing the same battle. If there's a person out there who can push the thought out of their mind, I admire them. I simply can't do it.

And I'd like to mention one of the specialists I spoke to. He never once said the word pet... or cat. During our discussion he only referred to the patient, Bullseye, as my friend. I was touched by that more than he will ever probably realize.
post #8 of 43
My thoughts and prayers are with you and Bullseye.
post #9 of 43
Thread Starter 
Well, most people wouldn't consider this good news, but Spot, the ferals bloodwork came back showing it was thyroid. Woohoo! I can deal with that...sorta. I had them compound the Methimazole and I'm checking on some info I received that said you can also administer it via rubbing a cream on their ear. Anybody done that? She's going to be a pain to catch. Right now she's not too bad cause she can't jump and can barely run, but I imagine once her condition starts to improve it's going to be a different story. It will be a couple months before we know if she's a candidate for the iodine therapy at which point I'll have to decide if it's worth $800 to me not to have to chase her around.

I'm still researching treatment options for Bullseye. I spoke to another clinic this morning where one of the vets specializes in animal acupuncture. The receptionist told me they never use acupuncture to treat cancer because it actually spreads it. This isn't what the vet yesterday told me. My personal vet did suggest I pursue the holistic approach though, because she felt it could be beneficial.

I'm thinking I may just have my paycheck direct deposited to the vet clinic. It would save time.
post #10 of 43
I have no advice for Bulleye, but my thoughts are with you both.

As far as the thyroid meds, we used to give Molly Methimazole in liquid form with no problems. It was much easier than attempting to give her a pill.
post #11 of 43
I'm very sorry to hear about Bullseye's diagnosis. One of our members recently posted a link with some info about cancer in cats, and thyroid problems, which I bookmarked: http://www.fabcats.org/FAB_Conference_proceedings.html
post #12 of 43
I dont have any experience, but wanted to send my thoughts.
post #13 of 43
Lots of calming vibes are on the way.((((hug))))
You and your boy will be in my thoughts.
post #14 of 43
Thread Starter 
Cathy...sorry I didn't mention it earlier. Thanks for sharing about Sushi. I know you truly understand where I'm coming from and where all this is going.

I made the appointment with the holistic/naturopathic vet for Tuesday. We talked about the comment from the acupuncturist's receptionist and she said that no, you don't do anything in the area of the cancer, you use other areas that boost the immune response. Works for me. I just have to do it. I'd always wonder if those few hundred bucks could have given him a few extra months. So, I guess we'll stick a bow on his head and call him Christmas. DH left for a week long hunting trip today so I won't get any grief from him.

Here's the link about the vet...her name is Lauren Chattigre. Ten cats...now that's my kind of vet.

post #15 of 43
My cat was just diagnosed with oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma on Feb 24, 2006 (the day after Thanksgiving). We have an appointment with an oncologist tomorrow to see how bad it is. Everything that I have read online is heartbreaking -- so I'm trying to prepare myself. We are also in the Portland, OR area and could use a sympathetic friend to get through this ordeal. Smokey is 14 years old, a black shorthair cat. He has been my best friend and seen me through times when nobody else was around.
post #16 of 43
Thread Starter 
Hi paperclip. I hope the news for Smokey will be good. It seems that a small percentage if caught early can have very good results. Which clinic are you taking him too?

I took Bullseye for acupuncture last week and we're trying a holistic approach. I can see that the growth has gotten larger in just the past week, but he seems happy with all the extra attention he's getting. My job now is to make him comfortable.

You meant November 24th, right? I don't blame you for being distracted. It's hard. You can PM me if you want. We got snow here, how about you?
post #17 of 43
Yes, I meant November. I didn't even realize that I wrote February. We are going to see Dr. Freeman at the Northwest Veterinary Specialists in Clackamas. We've never been there, Smokey's local vet referred us. I think he probably already had it a couple of years ago, the vet thought he had Feline odontoclastic resorptive lesions (FORL) -- I guess it was more serious than that -- and maybe its too late now. I keep hoping maybe the results of the biopsy are wrong or maybe we caught it early enough. Smokey seemed to go downhill really fast after the biopsy. The lesion went from being hardly noticeable at the base of his gumline to rising up above the top of his teeth in just a few days.

We have a little bit of snow here (Lake Oswego) and hopefully the roads won't be too icy in the morning to drive to the vet. I just want to move back home to California.

Do you think there might be something in pet food that is contributing to this disease? Its strange that a black cat should get skin cancer -- and nobody in our household smokes. Maybe some kind of toxin in our area?

Are you able to get Bullseye to take any kind of supplements or vitamins? I've mixed up a concoction of C, E, Zinc, Selenium, Green Tea, N-Acetyl-Cysteine, Thymus Extract, Melatonin, Alpha Lipoic Acid and Lecithin. I started smearing a little dab on his paw. He is "not impressed" with this at all.

I wish the best for you and Bullseye.
post #18 of 43
I will keep him in my prayers, and I do hope that there is a positive outcome for this.
post #19 of 43
Thread Starter 
By reputation, Dr Freeman is the one to see. I spoke to her staff when Bullseye was intially diagnosed, but we opted against the surgery, radiation or carboplatin. I took Scooter to NW for chemo when he was diagnosed with lymphoma, but I think I saw Dr Mack.

I'm giving Bullseye Lycopodium, Arsenicum, Plant Enzymes and Probiotics, and something called Constitutional Blend. The Lycopodium and Arsenicum are little crystals, so I disolve them in a cc of water and give it to him, same with the Probiotic powder. It's the only way I can be sure he's getting it, and it seems to be easiest. The initial consult and meds at Cascade Summit were $328., which is a drop in the bucket compared to the radiation/chemo cost. Followup acupunture treatments run $75. If you opt against treatment at NW you might speak to Dr Chattigre there. I spoke with her a couple times on the phone prior to making an appointment and she was very easy to talk to. Still, I have no idea whether her treatment has helped Bullseye or not. She's in West Linn, probably about a 10-15 minute drive from the NW clinic.

I don't know what to think about cancer in pets. Bulleye will be my fourth cat to lose the battle to cancer in just over three years. I lost Spot on Monday and she was diagnosed only 10 days earlier with hyperthyroidism, but they said there was much more going on to cause her to deteriorate so quickly. Maybe cancer too. I have to believe that as we poison ourselves, what we do has to affect the animals as well.

I'll be holding good thoughts for you and Smokey. Let me know how it goes today.
post #20 of 43
Smokey jumped out of my arms as I was placing him in the car yesterday morning. We ran after him but he was long gone and didn't come home until nightfall. The earliest they could reschedule him is next Tuesday morning. I didn't want to force him into a carrier -- I guess next time we will use it.

I've been researching treatments on the internet. I read about a semi-promising study with human Oral SCC, where they injected interleukin-2 into the tumor. Also a promising study using it on cattle SCC. But I couldn't find any research on its use with cats.

I also read about a drug (tacrolimus) that is made from bacteria in soil and is used to prevent organ transplant rejection. It works by blocking the body's natural interleukin-2. Some people have contracted squamous cell carcinoma after using this drug.

Again, it makes be wonder if there isn't some sort of toxin that is responsible for tripping this disease in cats, maybe molds or aflatoxins. I really find it difficult to believe that a cat's occasional sunning in a window could cause something like this.
post #21 of 43
Thread Starter 
This came from one link...

"Results of this study suggest that flea control products, diet, and perhaps environmental tobacco smoke might be associated with risk of oral SCC and indicate that further investigation into these relationships is warranted."

You may have already been to this site and some of the links are dead, but you might give it a try.


Bullseye has always been given Advantage, eats Science Diet and Nutro, and has never been anound anyone who smokes. He also hasn't been an outside cat for the past 8 years. It would be a real shocker to eventually find out that some product we trusted caused these things.
post #22 of 43

Thanks for the link. Yes, I have been to that site, but I never followed their link to the actual research article...


When I read it, this line caught my eye ...

"Compared to cats eating mostly dry food, those with high canned food intake had a 3-fold increase in risk (RR = 3.6; P = .014); canned tuna fish intake was independently associated with risk (RR = 4.7; P = .004)."

So, maybe there is something in their food...

I think you are on to something using a more wholistic treatment. I don't feel right about forcing him into a mandibulectomy.

I ordered some cesium chloride (the regular element not the radioactive isotope) online today. Maybe it's snake oil ... but then maybe it really does work. It is worth a try.

The odor from Smokey's mouth was becoming really overwhelming. Last night, I dissolved 1/4 tsp of baking soda in some distilled water and squirted it by dropperfuls over the tumor to rinse out his mouth. It stopped the stream of drool for a few hours and he ate for the first time in two days. He even climbed under the covers with me last night to sleep. Something he used to do all the time but hadn't done in a couple of weeks. (He has been hiding out in the linen closet.)

Smokey has been an indoor cat almost 100% of his life. He has occasionally streaked past me and ran outside, but I can usually coax him back inside. Nobody in my household smokes. He doesn't wear flea collars or get drops. The past few years of his life he has been on Science Diet, before that it was IAMS or Whiskas. Sometimes he ate dry food but mostly it was canned. He did love an occasional (1 or 2 times a year) treat of the water from a can of tuna fish. He doesn't like people food at all.

If you find any websites that show how many cases of SCC there are in different locations on earth, let me know.
post #23 of 43
Smokey saw the oncologist today. She said that there was nothing they could do. He probably has 2 weeks at best. In a way I'm kind of relieved that I don't have to decide about the deforming surgery, feeding tube, chemo & radiation that would probably only extend his life briefly anyways.

I've been in contact with several people who have successfully cured their own human cancers with Cesium Chloride. I haven't found anyone who has tried it on their pet and the vet had never even heard about it. If I can, I will try giving him a very very teeny tiny dose along with extra Potassium & Magnesium. Its worth a try.

The oncologist did mention the wholistic vet that you are taking your baby to and said that she is really good. I told her about your cat and running across your thread online. I also asked if she had seen an increase in oral SCC and she said that she hardly sees any cases of it.

You know, we are downstream from the Hanover Nuclear Dump site.
post #24 of 43
Thread Starter 
I'm sorry. I was thinking about you today and wondering how it went.

The cost, quality of life and short amount of time it often extends their lives might have something to do with why she sees so few cases.

I take Bullseye back in on Thursday. The lump is considerably larger than when it was orginally diagnosed a month ago. He's still eating soft food and seems happy with all the extra attention, but I know if it weren't for the Metacam he'd be gone already. Did they give you anything to keep him comfortable? I'll make a note to ask about the Cesium Chloride when I go in.

The receptionist at my local veterinary clinic has a dog with the same thing. I still wish there was a place we could submit information about our pets with cancer. I feel like I ought to be doing something other than crying and wondering what I did wrong.

added...I posted this last night and the post did add, but it still showed you in the forum as the last poster. I'm hoping this will bump it up. **shrug**
post #25 of 43
Thread Starter 
see above
post #26 of 43
Paperclip & Cinder..
Both Smokey & Bullseye will remain in my thoughts as you continue with this difficult struggle.
Hugs and vibes are on the way.

post #27 of 43
Thanks to everyone for their support. I hope that Bullseye and Smokey will do well. I bought a veterinary manual on cancer in dogs & cats. The surgeon is supposed to take careful precautions against spreading the tumor when they perform the biopsy. The spread of cancer this way is called "seeding". Smokey's cancer spread because of that I'm sure. It spread from being 2cm x .5cm before the biopsy to covering most of his lower jaw 2 weeks later.

I haven't given up on Smokey yet and he isn't giving up either. I went to Whole Foods and got him some ground up, dark turkey thigh meat and some chicken liver. I feed it to him raw and swap between the two. He loves it. It is very difficult for him to swallow. He gags and claws at his mouth until the food falls out. If I encourage him on, he will keep eating and lick the bowl clean when he is finished. Heck, who cares about parasites at this point. I'm just glad he is eating.

Here is an excellent site that mentions CsCl therapy.


It seems to be especially toxic to cats, so I am terrified about trying it.

I know what you mean about crying. I've had many, many pets, but Smokey is the "One". We have an incredibly strong bond. My family has been saying for years, "Don't know what your gonna do when that cat dies!". Some days my hands are shaking so bad that I can't click the mouse buttons. Frantically researching, reading, reading reading...

Of course you know that you haven't done anything wrong. That's a normal stage that we go through to acceptance.

Smokey is doing something bizarre that I haven't read anyone elses cat do with this disease. He started pulling the hair (bits of skin and all) on his forepaws out with his teeth. I don't know why. Is it frustration? Pain? toxic reaction? deficiency? What?
post #28 of 43
Thread Starter 
My cat Buddy pulled out a circular patch of hair on his side a couple of months before his death. He was 18 and died of what was believed to be lymphoma. (we did not biopsy due to his age) At the time we didn't know why he did it. Actually, I guess I still don't know. I made him a little shirt to get him to stop, which he did.

Bullseye had acupuncture again today. He went from 9.9 to 9.5 pounds in a little over 2 weeks. The Dr didn't think the growth looked quite as inflamed as last time, but he has also been on antibiotics since Monday. In addition to all his current treatments, we added fish oil caps. She also didn't think the growth was significantly larger, although I thought it had grown.

I was surprised to see him eating hard food after we got home.

If you read back to the beginning of the thread you see how happy I was to find out that Spot was diagnosed with hyperthyroid instead of cancer. She lived ten days. I guess we don't always know what's going to happen just because that's what normally does. So you keep trying.
post #29 of 43
By the way, what is metacam? They gave me Buprinex to drop .2 ml under his tongue for pain every 12 hours. It only seems to make him loopy, anti-social and he doesn't seem to care if he starves to death. So now I only give him half a dose every 24 hours (right before I go to bed at night). He isn't as doped up and will eat the next day.
post #30 of 43
Thread Starter 
This is first time I've ever used Metacam. (meloxicam) According to the box it's a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug for oral use in dogs only. When I questioned the receptionist, she told me that they give .3 ml to cats when they declaw for the pain. I started him on .3ml once daily and am now giving .2ml once daily. Dr Chattigre said it was okay to use with the holistic meds. Unlike some of the other pain killers I've used, I didn't notice any difference in Bullseye after he'd taken it, except he started eating. He doesn't object to the taste either.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Cat Health
TheCatSite.com › Forums › Our Feline Companions › Cat Health › Squamous Cell Carcinoma Treatment?