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Back in June, my rat got a tumor on his right side. I took him to the vet and it was removed. I also had the tumor tested and it tested positive for cancer. Only three months have gone by since then and the tumor has returned. I'm planning on taking him to the vet again to get to it removed again but i'm concerned that this is going to be a reoccurring problem in the future.

Does anyone else have experience with tumors? Do they jut keep coming back? I'm not sure I have enough money to cover getting them removed every three months. I don't know what to do. ???
 

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​Yes rat's get reoccurring tumors (especially females to my knowledge) What to do is up to you. How old is your rat?

 

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He's about a year and a half. Does it usually happen this fast? It's barely been three months and it's back already.
 

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I know that there are lot of foods that slow tumor growth. I heard of things like turkey tail mushroom because they will keep coming back.
 

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I've had two girls, from the same breeder that simply exploded into mammary tumors and one other rat that only grew one that got really large. Chances are that the one rat might have been helped with the surgery, but the other two would have been a complete lost cause right from the start.

The turkey tail mix didn't do much when I tried it. I intend to try DCA, if and when there's a next time. But keep in mind, I've been dealing with mammary tumors that weren't likely malignant.

A friend of mine once proposed a theory that rats reach a certain age when their body basically stops healing itself properly and tumors and cancers pretty much grow unchecked. When you take into account that research on mice tends to indicate that mice are genetically pre-programmed to age and die and that they can live twice as long if you knock out two genes, it seems to make sense that rats hit a certain age and after that their bodies break down and they get tumors cancers etc.

Logically, it does make sense. In nature, rats reproduce fast and die young so as to make room for their offspring. If healthy old non-reproductive rats hung around for a few extra years they very well might out-compete their own offspring and wipe themselves out. In fact there was an experiment done in Japan where a strain of genetically enhanced super-fish were released into the environment. They got larger, lived longer bred with all of the females and eventually out-competed or ate all of their offspring, within a few generations the super-fish as well as all of their non-enhanced compatriots were extinct in the location where the super-fish were introduced.

Based on the fish experiment, the best way to exterminate rats from a city for example would be to introduce super-rats that get bigger and live longer... Naturally the big, healthy, non-reproductive, old and smart rats would out-compete their own grandchildren and then die off eventually leaving no rats behind. The short life cycle of rats makes them very adaptive to environmental changes and it makes sure that every generation gets a fair chance when there are no or few natural predators.

Sadly, this means that a year and a half old rat is by definition pretty old and his natural defenses might be shutting down, so yes, it's likely that the tumors will be coming back.

I will add one more bit of information. I met a young lady that had a six year old female rat... likely one of the lucky few that had a genetic mutation to the genes that cause rats to age so quickly... but the rat still died with mammary tumors, even though the onset was massively delayed. The tumors just seem to be something that happens to rats that outlive their ability to properly control cell growth.

I realize that some rats don't seem to ever get tumors, but one doctor once told my mom that everybody would eventually die of cancer if they live long enough... So perhaps those are rats the die of something else first... who knows?

I know I'm stringing together some science and some theory and perhaps some untested hypothesis... I've been where you are and it's a hard call to not do the surgery. There are a lot of considerations to take into account, realistically including financial ones. But either way you go, you can be right or wrong or both or neither... If the science is right almost every rat and perhaps human is born with an expiration date and there isn't much you can do to change it by very much.

I am sorry you are where you are now, I wish you and your rat lots more time to be together. I'm sure whatever you decide it will work out for the best.
 
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