Mast cells are a type of cell widely distributed in the body. Mast cell tumours commonly affect the skin, the spleen and/or the intestines. In the intestines, these are often aggressive tumours that cause blockage of the intestine.

They can be removed surgically, but it is usually very difficult to remove the entire tumour and spread to lymphnodes, liver, spleen, or the lungs is common. When mast cell tumour affecting the spleen is diagnosed, there is often also spread to other organs (liver, lymph nodes, bones marrow). However, surgical removal of the spleen alone can produce good disease-free survival times (often around 12 months) in many affected cats.

Mast cell tumours affecting the skin can be solitary masses or multiple nodules, and these may ulcerate. Surgical removal is usually curative and some may spontaneously regress. Radiation therapy may also be used for some of these tumours.


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