When the outcome resulting from an expensive and difficult treatment is unclear, you will not be left entirely on your own when it comes to making a decision about how or even whether to proceed. Yes, the choice is ultimately in your hands, but your vet will advise you when she thinks the solution is an easy one — and she will also tell you how to think about a situation when the best answer remains an unknown.
For instance, says Tufts veterinary surgeon, John Berg, DVM, “I would be less inclined to say a major cancer surgery was a potential option for a really geriatric, really tiring cat who has a malignant mammary tumor, which might very well have spread by the time we get to it. It is much easier for a young cat to recover quickly from such an operation, and much less of an adjustment. And a very old cat with cancer might not live another year, anyway, even with the full arsenal of treatment that we could apply to her situation. It makes for a decision-making process that can be very difficult for owners.”