The Rat Fan Club
Below is a photo diary of Jewel, one of my rats treated
successfully with tamoxifen for a cancerous mammary
I adopted Jewel on 8-16-08
because her owners didn’t want her or her sister any more. They had neglected Jewel and Tiger and
allowed them to grow massive benign mammary tumors. I knew they were benign
tumors because malignant mammary tumors never get that big. However, I knew she
must also have a malignant mammary tumor next to it, which caused the huge skin
ulcer on the benign tumor, because benign mammary tumors just don’t get ulcers
like this. During the surgery to remove the benign tumor I removed all the skin
adjacent to the ulcer.
Jewel’s benign mammary tumor just
before surgery. Jewel
after surgery. The
tumor measured 9 cm long.
Jewel recovered well from her surgery and I started her on tamoxifen on 8-22-08. She took it for a month, then violently objected to taking it, so I stopped it for a
month. After that I alternated her
one month on and one month off until June 2009 and she turned 3 years old! Then I stopped it for good.
Jewel on 10-29-08 Jewel
The major portion of the cancerous mammary tumor is on the
lower right in the picture, her lower left. See how the lump next to her urethral
opening has shrunk after a month on the tamoxifen.
Jewel on 2-14-09
right before surgery to remove 2 benign mammary tumors, one on her throat and
one on her right abdomen. See that
the only evidence of the cancer now is some skin ulcers; the lumps have
Jewel on 3-30-09
Although she continues to have open sores that occasionally
become necrotic, the main lumps have not returned. The lump on the lower left
is an abscess that broke open and drained.
Jewel on 5-21-09. I suspect this is a benign mammary
tumor, but I’m holding off on surgery as it doesn’t seem to be
growing very fast. As you can see,
there is a necrotic area next to the tumor. Jewel will turn 3 years old next month,
has lost weight, and has a pretty severe case of paraplegia, so I think she is
a little too frail for surgery.
Jewel on 7-10-09.
She is now almost 37 months old, has lost more weight and is quite frail. She has grown 2 new tumors, but again
they don’t seem to be growing very fast. She is like a frail 90-year-old woman,
and sleeps most of the time (I’m letting her live on my couch), but she
still gets around where she wants to and is happy. I keep thinking I will need to euthanize her any day, but she keeps eating and still loves
to be held and petted. I never
thought I would have her for almost a year! Without the tamoxifen
treatment, I’m sure she would have needed to be euthanized months ago.
I finally had to euthanize Jewel
on 8-2-09 when she was
restless and couldn’t get comfortable. She made it past 37 months of age.
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