Mast Cell Tumor Dog Life Expectancy 2018

Grading Mast Cell Tumor Dog Life Expectancy

Grade l

Non-malignant and has not spread to other parts of the body.  This grade shows the highest chance of long-term survival which can be cured with appropriate and skillful surgery.  In grade 1 mast cell tumors, the tumor is found just under the skin.  They vary in size.

Grade ll

Grade II mast cell tumors can also be found under the skin. In this case, the tumor might be deeper into the tissue. A grade II tumor probably hasn’t spread yet. There is a chance that it could be malignant.

Grade III

This is the grade you don’t want your dog to have. In this case, the tumor is deep within the tissues. It is much more aggressive. In addition to surgery and chemotherapy, it’s possible your dog will also require radiation and other supportive drugs.

Staging Mast Cell Tumor Dog Life Expectancy

Stage 0

One tumor found that has not invaded the lymph nodes.

Stage I

This is similar to stage 0, except the veterinarian may suspect it’s been there a little longer.  Nevertheless, it’s felt that there is only one tumor and that is has not likely spread.

Stage II

At this stage, things are getting a little more serious.  It’s still not felt that the mast cell tumor is invading lymph nodes, but it could be getting close.

Stage III

This is not a good place to be. At stage III, mast cell tumors are large and deep.  Mast cell tumor dog life expectancy is guarded at this stage.  This is usually where tough decisions need to be made.  

What Are My Options?

Your dog should have the lump removed, regardless of the stage or grade. Early removal is a life-saver. In this case, the surgeon will cut the tumor out making sure to take a wide margin of tissue around it. By taking a large margin of tissue, the surgeon can test to be sure the cells haven’t started to spread. 

You should know that in some cases, the tumor is situated in an awkward space where getting a wide margin may not be as easily done.  If that happens, the surgeon may suggest a chemotherapy/radiation combination to kill any cells left behind. 

It’s Stage III, Grade III.   Tell Me the Truth.

There’s no cure for cancer, but the veterinarian community has more to work with than ever before. You may even be lucky enough to live where specialized veterinarian surgeons can take over. 

Unfortunately, nobody can make the next decision for you. Money will buy you a lot of things including surgery and extensive chemotherapy and radiation.  It can buy you opportunities to have your dog take part in clinical trials, or take you to multiple clinics for “second opinions”.  

You must ask yourself if you can reasonably afford what lies ahead, given the predicted mast cell tumor dog life expectancy.  If you are staring down a mast cell tumor at stage III, grade III, you have the option of spending a lot of money for the opportunity to spend no more than a few more weeks or months with your dog.  It’s likely, however, that it will only be a few more added weeks.

check out this VLOG on how tumors are aspirated and biopsied.

Is Mast Cell Tumor Treatment Expensive

Mast cell tumor dog treatments are expensive but, according to Laurie Kaplan, MSC, author of “Help Your Dog Fight Cancer“, there are things you can do to help lower the costs. 

Have you ever heard of a $30,000 dog? I have. Dog cancer forums are filled with people grieving their dogs and trying to pay off a $30,000 debt used for multiple surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation. 

Read this report on mast cell tumor clinical trials.

An article on the CBS News site by Money Watch reported the cost chemotherapy (standard course that doesn’t include diagnosis or surgery), to be anywhere from $3000 to $5000. That was in 2015. Inflation since that time has likely increased the price.

It’s not uncommon for families to refinance their homes to cover the expenses.  Just because it’s common doesn’t make it right.

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About Lisa Theriault

Lisa Theriault wants you to know right up front that she is not a veterinarian. None of the articles/posts on this website are meant to take the place of veterinarian care. That said, Lisa has had a lifetime of experience dealing with dogs and plans on further education on dog anatomy and canine massage. In the meantime, Lisa's posts are all professionally researched and carefully crafted. The last thing she wants is to do or say anything that would hurt your dog. Stay tuned for more updates to Lisa's bio.