Angel is a 14-plus-year-old feline sharing her life with her caretaker Stefanie. Some time ago Stefanie found a small dark and soft mass on the top of Angel’s head and about six months ago it grew quite visibly to about the size of a quarter at its base and three-quarters of an inch high. It is now pink in color, soft and as Stefanie puts it, squishy. She wants to know whether or not she should be concerned.
The simple answer is yes. At this point, we do not know what type of mass is growing on Angel’s head or if it could be cancerous. The fact that it has changed character and appears to be growing is concerning.
Angel needs surgery to have the mass removed. This will require an anesthesia, but from Stefanie’s description, it does not sound like it will be a major procedure. Still, Angel is 14 years old and needs to be treated differently than a 2-year-old when preparing for an anesthetic procedure and the procedure itself.
On older patients I like to check body functions first. All patients need to be assessed for risk. Just because everything appears to be normal does not mean there is not some underlying problem.
After surgical removal of Angel’s tumor, a biopsy will be performed on the mass. With this information, we can give a prognosis.
One important component of Angel’s surgery is pain management. It is very important to control pain to further good healing. Proper pain control is based on an assessment of the likely level of pain that a particular procedure might induce.