Sign Up for Cat Talk
Get the latest health and behavior news and
advice from the veterinarians at Tufts University.

Feature January 2020 Issue

If the Cancer Surgeon Got Clean Margins, Why Did the Tumor Grow Back?

The cells at left, seen under a microscope, are normal tissue. The cells on the right are cancerous.

If the Cancer Surgeon Got Clean Margins, Why Did the Tumor Grow Back?

The benefits — and limitations — of assessing margins when a cancer is removed.

You sit anxiously in the waiting room while your cat undergoes surgery to remove a cancerous mass. Finally, the doctor comes out in his scrubs and tells you he was able to excise the malignant tumor and that he believes he got it all. Relieved but not yet “out of the woods,” you wait for the pathology report. Sure enough, it confirms the surgeon’s belief that he excised the cancer in its entirety. There are clean margins. Why, then, does the tumor grow back in the exact same spot some months later?

To continue reading this article you must be a paid subscriber.

Subscribe to Tufts Catnip Magazine

Get the next 10 issues of TUFTS CATNIP for just $20 And access all of our online content - Solve your pet's health and behavior problems with help from Tufts!

Get Tufts Catnip Digital

Get 10 months of TUFTS CATNIP DIGITAL for just $20. You get unlimited access to everything on the site including each monthly issue as a PDF.

Subscriber Log In

Forgot your password? Click Here.

Already subscribe but haven't registered for all the benefits of the website? Click here.