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Confronting Squamous Cell Carcinomas in Cats: Diagnosis and Treatment

Squamous Cell Carcinomas of the Nose and Sinuses in Cats: Symptoms, Types and


As pet owners, it’s imperative that we pay attention to our cats’ health and wellness to ensure their longevity. One of the most prevalent health conditions to look out for is

Squamous Cell Carcinomas (SCCs) of the nose and sinuses.

These cancers tend to grow slowly and may not show noticeable symptoms until they have spread, so it is important to be aware of what to look out for. In this article, we will discuss the anatomy of the respiratory system,

Squamous Cell Carcinomas, and their symptoms, types and treatment.

Anatomy of the Respiratory System: Nasal Cavity and Sinuses

The respiratory system consists of the lungs, nose, sinuses, and trachea (windpipe). The nose and paranasal sinuses, located between the eyes and above the roof of the mouth and behind the nose, form the first part of the respiratory system and are responsible for filtering, warming and humidifying the air.

The nose is lined with a protective layer of epithelium- the layer that covers the surface of the respiratory tract.

Squamous Cell Carcinomas

Squamous cell carcinomas are malignant tumors arising from the epithelial layer. These tumors are slow-growing and often originate from the nasal cavity or sinuses.

SCCs are considered aggressive, and if not addressed early enough, can spread to neighboring tissues like the eye socket, brain and ethmoidal sinuses.

Symptoms of SCCs

As mentioned earlier,

Squamous Cell Carcinomas grow slowly and may not show notable symptoms until they have progressed to an advanced stage. Here are some symptoms to watch out for:

Nasal Symptoms

– Runny nose: persistent discharges from the nose

– Bloody nose: bleeding/ blood from the nostrils

– Sneezing: sneezing frequently

– Bad breath: foul smell emanating from the nose

Eye Symptoms

– Bulging eyes: eyes that appear unusually large or protruding

– Excessive tearing: tears that do not stop flowing

Neurological Symptoms

– Seizures: sudden uncontrollable muscle spasms (in extreme cases)

Types of

Squamous Cell Carcinomas

SCCs of the nose and sinuses are categorized according to their location. Below are the different types:

– Nasal SCCs: SCCs located in the nasal cavity.

These tumors can grow into the other areas of the respiratory system like the lungs

– Nasopharyngeal SCCs: SCCs located in the utricle (chamber located between the two ethmoidal bones) and surrounding tissues.

– Paranasal SCCs: SCCs in the paranasal sinuses like the frontal, maxillary, sphenoid and ethmoidal sinuses

– Ocular SCCs: SCCs that have spread to ocular tissue- the surrounding tissues behind and around the eyes.


Treatment for

Squamous Cell Carcinomas is dependent on the cancer’s stage of progression. If diagnosed early enough, surgery to remove the tumor is conducted.

The vet may also administer radiation or chemotherapy to kill any remaining cells. In the case where the tumor has metastasized, the treatment plan shifts to managing the symptoms of the disease.


Prevention is always better than cure. Ingesting chemicals like tobacco and breathing in polluted air can increase the likelihood of nasal and sinus cancer.

Ensuring that your cat remains indoors and away from external environmental pollutants and secondhand smoke can significantly reduce their chances of developing SCCs.

In conclusion,

Squamous Cell Carcinomas are slowly growing malignant tumors that affect the respiratory system. Symptoms may only show when the tumor has reached an advanced stage, so it is important to keep an eye out for even small changes in behavior in cats.

While the disease can be aggressive, early diagnosis and treatment can save your pet’s life. Finally, practice preventative measures like keeping your cat indoors and away from potential environmental pollutants.

By following the steps outlined in this article, pet owners can ensure the health and wellbeing of their pets. Causes of

Squamous Cell Carcinomas: The Unknown Culprit

Squamous Cell Carcinomas of the nose and sinuses in cats pose a great threat to feline health and well-being. These tumors are relatively slow-growing, making them difficult to diagnose until they have advanced to an incurable stage.

Unfortunately, the causes of SCCs remain unknown with no exact pinpointed source. In this article, we will discuss the diagnosis process for SCCs, and how a thorough history and physical exam, blood tests, imaging, and a biopsy can aid in detecting this deadly cancer.

Diagnosis: Getting to the Root of the Issue

Squamous Cell Carcinomas are difficult to identify in their early stages and often go undiagnosed until the cancer has progressed. A variety of methods are employed to diagnose SCCs in cats, all of which are instrumental in identifying the tumor and its likely progression.

In the next section, we will explore each of these diagnostic tools.

History and Physical Exam

The first step in diagnosing

Squamous Cell Carcinomas is to conduct a thorough history and physical examination. This involves taking a detailed account of the cat’s health and any presenting symptoms.

During the physical exam, the vet will examine the nose, sinuses, eyes, ears, and mouth, looking for signs of swelling, discharge and growths.

Blood Tests

After the physical examination, the vet may conduct a complete blood count (CBC) and a biochemical profile. Blood tests provide a range of information, including blood cell counts and organ function.

In some cases, elevated levels of liver enzymes and proteins in the blood could indicate that cancer is present.


Diagnostic imaging is another tool used in the diagnosis of SCCs. This includes X-rays, CT scans, and MRI. X-rays can provide a broad overview of the respiratory system to determine if there are any abnormalities.

In contrast, CT scans provide clearer imaging and can identify the extent of the tumor’s progression. MRI scans also produce detailed images of the tumor, making it easier for the vet to pinpoint its exact location.


A biopsy is the most accurate way to diagnose SCCs. The vet may take a tissue sample to establish the exact type of carcinoma, whether it’s a squamous cell carcinoma or another type of cancer. During the biopsy, the vet may use a local anesthetic to numb the area, with a small incision made to remove the tissue sample.


Squamous Cell Carcinomas: The Importance of Early Detection

Early detection of

Squamous Cell Carcinomas in cats is paramount. Not only does it ensure a higher rate of survival for your pet, but it can also reduce the necessity of invasive treatments like chemotherapy and radiation.

Pet owners should keep a close eye on their cats, watching for any changes in behavior, particularly the symptoms mentioned earlier in the article. In conclusion, while there are no exact known causes of

Squamous Cell Carcinomas, diagnosing and treating these cancers are critical.

The diagnostic tools mentioned in this article, including a thorough history and physical examination, blood tests, imaging, and biopsies, are crucial in early detection. Pet owners must keep their cats’ health in mind and promptly address any symptoms that arise.

By practicing preventive and early detection measures, pet owners can ensure a higher quality of life for their cats while reducing the likelihood of a cancer diagnosis.

Squamous Cell Carcinomas:

Treatment and Living Management

Squamous cell carcinomas of the nose and sinuses are a cause for concern for any concerned pet owner. These tumors are aggressive and can quickly spread to surrounding areas, posing a significant risk to a cat’s health and well-being.

In this article, we will discuss the treatment options for

Squamous Cell Carcinomas, including surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy, as well as post-treatment recovery and the risk of recurrence.

Treatment Options for

Squamous Cell Carcinomas


Surgery is the most common method for treating

Squamous Cell Carcinomas. The vet will remove the tumor(s) surgically, using general anesthesia.

Depending on the tumor’s location and the extent of its spread, the surgery may involve removing some of the surrounding tissues and bone. The surgeon may remove a part or all of the affected nasal cavity and sinuses.

After the surgery, the cat may need to be hospitalized for a few days while recovering. It is crucial to ensure good post-operative care and monitor for any signs of infection, like nasal discharge and inflammation.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy is effective in treating

Squamous Cell Carcinomas, especially in cases where the cancer has spread beyond the nasal cavity. In this treatment, the cat is exposed to high-energy rays that target and destroy cancer cells.

Hospitalization is likely during the course of treatment, which may cause some short-term side effects like anorexia, nausea and fatigue. While radiation therapy can prolong a cat’s life, there is a risk of recurrence, and the survival rate after treatment may be relatively low.


Combination chemotherapy treatment may be used to treat

Squamous Cell Carcinomas. This treatment involves using multiple drugs to target cancer cells aggressively.

Chemotherapy is typically administered via injections or orally.

Chemotherapy treatment can last several months, causing side effects such as nausea, hair loss, and an increased risk of infection.

However, chemotherapy has been known to improve a cat’s survival rate. Living and Management


Treatment Recovery

After successful treatment of

Squamous Cell Carcinomas, it is imperative to ensure good post-treatment care.

The cat will need regular check-ups during the recovery period. The vet will provide instructions on how to follow up and monitor the cat, especially for any signs of infection.

The cat may continue to experience mild nasal discharge and inflammation as it recovers. Pet owners should provide a comfortable and stress-free environment to ensure that the cat can recover at a steady pace.


Sadly for pet owners,

Squamous Cell Carcinomas often recur. This is largely due to the cancer’s aggressive nature, leading to metastasis to other areas of the body such as the brain, making surgery an unlikely option.

Owners should be observant, watchful for any signs of recurrence, such as a runny nose, repeated bloody noses, or respiratory issues, and seek early treatment if they observe these symptoms. The cat’s survival rate after recurrence will largely depend on the extent of the cancer’s spread and the treatment options available.

In conclusion,

Squamous Cell Carcinomas of the nose and sinuses are a serious health concern for pet owners. Early detection and treatment are critical to ensuring a positive outcome.

Pet owners of cats with SCCs should work hand in hand with their veterinarian and any oncologists to decide on the most effective treatment option for their pet. While surgery is the most common approach, radiation therapy and chemotherapy also bring their benefits, with combination treatments increasing survival rates.

Post-treatment care and monitoring are also crucial, as recurrence is a risk and timely intervention makes a difference. Ultimately,

Squamous Cell Carcinomas require an unwavering commitment to the wellbeing of cats and ensuring they receive the best possible care for prolonged health, life, and happiness.

Squamous Cell Carcinomas of the nose and sinuses pose a significant threat to cats. Early detection and aggressive treatment are crucial in containing this cancer, requiring pet owners to work closely with their veterinarian to identify symptoms and choose the most appropriate option for their pet.

Common treatments include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. While recurrence is a possibility, follow-up checks after treatment and observance of symptoms are crucial for prompt intervention, reducing the risk of further deterioration with timely intervention.

By following preventive measures, promptly addressing symptoms, getting early diagnostics and treatment, and regularly monitoring cats’ health, pet owners can protect their feline friends from the threat of

Squamous Cell Carcinomas, maximizing life, health, and happiness.

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