Lymphoma (malignant lymphoma, lymphosarcoma) is probably the single most common cancer that affects cats.

This is a solid tumour of a type of white blood cell (lymphocyte) that is involved in immune responses. In addition to being present in the blood, there are accumulations of lymphocytes that occur elsewhere in the body – either in the lymph nodes or lymph 'glands' or within other tissues. Because of the wide distribution of lymphocytes in the body, lymphoma (malignant tumour of the cells) can occur at virtually any site, and also commonly occurs at multiple sites. Common sites to be affected include the lymph nodes (distributed throughout the body), the chest cavity, the intestinal tract, the nose, the kidneys and the nervous system. Clinical signs vary according to the tissues that are affected. Both infection with the Feline Leukaemia Virus (FelV) and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) can be underlying or predisposing causes of lymphoma development.

Various treatment options are available for lymphoma including surgery, drug therapy and radiation therapy. Thetreatment choice will depend on the site and form of the tumour, and the availability of the treatment options. Inmany cats the response to therapy can be very good and long lasting, although few cases are genuinely 'cured'.


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