Cancer is a major disease of cats in terms of health and welfare, and skin tumours in cats are the second most common tumour type, accounting for around 25% of all reported neoplasms (Argyle, Decision making in small animal oncology. Oxford: Blackwell/Wiley, 2008). Compared to dogs (who demonstrate significantly higher numbers of benign skin masses), around 65–70% of skin masses in cats are malignant. Occasionally tumours of the skin are actually metastatic lesions. The best example of this is the syndrome of digital and cutaneous metastasis associated with lung cancer in cats (less commonly seen in the dog) and is described in more detail below (Goldfinch and Argyle, J Feline Med Surg 14:202–8, 2012).
For many years, feline cancer medicine was dominated by virally induced lymphoma. While lymphoma is still a major problem in cats, the increase in vaccination has reduced the incidence of this disease and allowed other tumours to become prominent players, particularly squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), mast cell disease and vaccine-associated sarcomas. This chapter is designed to give the reader a broad understanding of the classification and approach to cancer in cats and a synopsis of the major tumour types.
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