Stomach Cancer in Cats

Leiomyosarcoma is an aggressive and painful cancer that affects the smooth muscles of a cat's stomach and intestines. Today our Clemmons vets explain more about stomach and intestinal cancer in cats, as well as how the disease is diagnosed and treated, and the life expectancy of cats with stomach cancer.


Leiomyosarcoma is a relatively rare but painful cancer which can affect the muscles of the stomach and intestines in cats. This disease is typically only found in cats over six years of age, and may be diagnosed in cats of any breed. Leiomyosarcoma is an aggressive stomach and intestinal cancer with a high tendency of metastasizing (spreading) to other parts of the cat's digestive tract or other vital organs.

Causes of Stomach & Intestinal Cancer in Cats

More research needs to be conducted in order to establish the cause of leiomyosarcoma in cats. At this point the cause of this stomach and intestinal cancer in cats is unknown.

Signs of Stomach Cancer in Cats

Diagnosing stomach cancer in cats can be somewhat tricky as there are often no obvious signs of cancer until the disease reaches later stages. When the disease becomes more advanced, symptoms may begin to appear over a period of weeks or months. To make diagnosis even more challenging, the symptoms of stomach and intestinal cancer in cats are much the same as symptoms of other less serious gastrointestinal conditions. 

If your cat has leiomyosarcoma you may notice one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Chronic intermittent vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Reduced appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Lethargy
  • Gas
  • Blood in stool
  • Black stool
  • Stomach growling

Diagnosing Leiomyosarcoma

If symptoms of leiomyosarcoma or other gastrointestinal issues are evident, your vet will feel around your cat's stomach and intestines to determine if there are any signs of pain, growths, or enlarged lymph nodes. If stomach cancer is suspected diagnostic testing will be recommended. Tests that can help in the diagnosis of stomach cancer in cats include:

  • Blood tests
  • Urinalysis
  • CT or MRI Scans
  • Ultrasound guided biopsy
  • x-rays
  • Endoscopy

Pain Management for Cats Diagnosed with Leiomyosarcoma

Pain is common with many forms of cancer, (and some cancer treatments). Cancer pain can significantly reduce your cat's quality of life, which is why your vet may take a preemptive approach to pain management if your cat is diagnosed with stomach cancer. Rather than waiting for your cat to show signs of pain, your vet may prescribe medications to help prevent pain before it begins, helping your cat to live more comfortably.

Treatment for Stomach Cancer in Cats

Surgery to remove the tumor and some of the surrounding tissue can be performed as a treatment for leiomyosarcoma. However, it's important to note that the effectiveness of surgery will depend upon whether the cancer has metastasized to other parts of the body. Following the initial diagnosis of stomach and intestinal cancer, further diagnostic testing can help to establish the extent of your cat's condition and best treatment options.

If your cat has been diagnosed with stomach or intestinal cancer our veterinary oncology team offers advanced diagnostics, surgery, and more to help provide your cat with the best possible treatment outcomes. 

Stomach Cancer in Cats Life Expectancy

The prognosis or life expectancy for your cat with stomach and intestinal cancer will depend on how aggressive your kitty's tumor is and the stage of your cat's cancer. Surgery can be curative for tumors that are benign, however, malignant stomach and intestinal cancers tend to have a less positive prognosis and a higher recurrence rate. Your vet will walk you through the best treatment options for your cat and provide you with a prognosis based on your pet's specific case.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet. 

Is your cat showing signs of stomach cancer? Contact our Clemmons vets right away to book an appointment for your kitty. We provide oncology care to pets in Clemmons and greater Winston-Salem.

Our Clemmons and Winston-Salem vets explain more about stomach cancer in cats

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