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    Lump on cat's head; is removal urgent?
    elizabeth_1 posted:
    My 4.5 year old cat has a hard lump on his head, which first appeared when he was around 9 months old and has since grown to the size of a pea. I've always thought it was just a cosmetic thing, and the vet tech even jokes about it and calls him "nougat head." At his wellness check in November, the vet commented that it should come off when he has his teeth cleaned, which I'm planning to have done December this year. Recently I got the estimate for his surgery, which included a histopathology and a ONE HOUR (!!!) estimated max time for tumor removal, which prompted me to starting looking up cat tumors online and now I'm sort of worried! I tried calling the vet back to see if having it removed ASAP is recommended, but there's no record of it in his chart, at least from his last visit. Are these skin lumps common in cats? Even if it's not cancerous now (it's very slow-growing), can they quickly turn cancerous? Is the general recommendation to watch the lump, or have it removed ASAP? If I do decide to move up his surgery, should I wait for his steroid shot to wear off (he got it this April, for hair loss on his throat), since corticosteroids suppress the immune system?

    I've attached pictures. The bump is not normally visible like that; I parted his fur and it stayed like that for a little bit. The fur that grows on the base of the bump make it difficult to see how much it protrudes. It's like a small, hard pea.

    elizabeth_1 responded:
    You can view them full-size if you right-click the images and select "open in new tab."
    Drew Weigner, DVM, ABVP responded:
    Since your cat's skin mass has been there for almost four years, it's not urgent to remove it immediately. That said, you need to know what it is, especially if it is malignant. This can be done by surgical removal, of course, but you may also be able to find out with a "fine needle aspirate." This involves putting a small needle into the mass and drawing out some material for slides. It's then sent to a lab to be read by a pathologist. For most tumors this is quite accurate but for some, it's not diagnostic. It should, however, tell you if it needs to be removed right away. If it's clearly benign, it doesn't need to be removed at this time. However, since it's slowly growing, it should be removed at some point. But it can be removed the next time your cat undergoes anesthesia (like, when he has his teeth cleaned.)

    Drew Weigner, DVM, ABVP
    The Cat Doctor
    Board Certified in Feline Practice
    An_254030 responded:
    Elizabeth, if you still check this site, do you have an update on your cat? My cat has a similar looking bump. She's also had it for years and the vet has never been too worried. It does seem to be growing slightly, though. I'm wondering what you cat's diagnosis was and if they opted to remove the bump. Thanks.
    elizabeth_2 replied to An_254030's response:
    Hi Anon,

    I know your response is old but I was just looking at this because my cat is having his surgery Wednesday (12/18). I didn't want to do a needle biopsy because I was worried about the walls of the tumor being disturbed, and possible metastasis (of course, the tumor is probably benign). Plus, he needs his teeth cleaned anyhow, so it's worth removing the lump since he'll already be anesthetized. I'm opting to have the surgery done in the winter because then he won't miss any walks outside during recovery and fur regrowth (his skin is very pale).

    Also, if he dies during surgery, I'll have days off of work because of Christmas and I won't have to feel weird about saying I need time off to recover emotionally because my cat died. He probably won't die, but it's always a possibility and I know I would be distraught.

    I'll update this again after the surgery, and also when the pathology report comes back (which could be a while because of the holidays).

    (And yes, I know my username has changed...I had trouble logging in many months ago and changing my username was part of the solution...I'm not sure if the other username has an account anymore)
    elizabeth_1 replied to An_254030's response:
    (Yay--my older username works again!)

    My cat's surgery went well. His appetite seems suppressed, but he is on both Amoxicillin (antibiotic) and Meloxicam (a NSAID), which could be making his stomach feel sick.

    He has to stay on the antibiotic for 14 days..."pilling" him is difficult so it's going to be a long 14 days! I really wish he had a liquid antibiotic (syringing liquid into his mouth is easier than making him swallow a pill).

    They definitely excised the tumor with wide margins; he has a two-inch-long slit on his head that is stitched together. I'll take a picture later.

    He gets his stitches out between 12/28 and 1/1. Perhaps by then the pathology report will be done.
    elizabeth_1 replied to An_254030's response:
    My cat has his stitches removed today and the vet discussed the pathology report. Unfortunately, the lump was a fibrosarcoma. The vet is going to call a veterinary oncologist at the local university on Monday to find out if he should receive radiation. I am definitely pretty shocked. It's hard to believe that such a slow-growing lump could contain something aggressive.

    I do have a little bit of hope because the report said that the margins did not contain any cancerous cells. I'm so glad my vet took such wide margins!
    elizabeth_1 replied to elizabeth_1's response:
    If anyone is interested in updates, I will post them under this discussion:

    Cat Radiation: Full Course vs Palliative Course
    beantreegirl replied to elizabeth_1's response:
    Please do give updates on how your cat is doing. I hope your baby made it.
    elizabeth_1 replied to beantreegirl's response:
    My cat's tumor has not returned yet, but he won't be "out of the woods" until he's tumor-free for at least two years. A longer update is here:
    elizabeth_1 replied to elizabeth_1's response:
    7-month update: It's almost seven months since removal and he's still tumor free. His lungs were x-rayed yesterday and they are also clear.

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