Hamsters Tumors & Cancer – How Long They Survive And Can They Heal?

Diagnosis of cancer in the hamster is one of the most heartbreaking things a hamster owner can learn. Just learned that your hamster is suffering from cancer or has developed a tumor? Read this article till the end to find all about tumors and cancer in hamsters.
Hamsters Tumors & Cancer - How Long They Survive And Can They Heal

How long can hamsters survive with tumors and cancer? Can hamsters fully recover from cancer and tumors? There is no straightforward answer to how long hamsters can survive in such a case. It all depends upon the type of tumor, location, and age of the disease. If the tumor is diagnosed at the early stages before becoming malignant, there are chances of full recovery.

Hamsters are one of the most cutest pets you can ever own. They are extraordinarily pretty, innocent, and fun. Hamsters are pretty easy to take care of until they fall prey to lethal diseases like cancer. 

You or your vet has also identified a tumor in your hamster? The first thing to do is stay calm. In time adequate measures can increase the lifespan of your hamster even after diagnosing cancer or tumor. 

In this thread, we will discuss everything you need to know about tumors and cancer in hamsters.

Difference Between Cancer And A Tumor

Before diving into the depth of this topic, it is very important for you to learn the difference between a tumor and cancer:

Tumors In Hamsters

A tumor is referred to as the abnormal growth of cells in any part of the hamster’s body. Benign tumors which are under consideration do not spread to the other parts of the body. However, they grow at the place of their origin. 

Benign tumors are the most common types of tumors that usually grow in hamsters. Almost 96% of tumors found in hamsters are benign. Treatment of these types of tumors is considerably more easy and successful. The chances of fully recovering from tumors are also greater if they are benign. 

Where Do Tumors Develop?

This is another very important point which you should be aware of. 

Benign tumors can grow on any part of hamster bodies. Most commonly, benign tumors develop on the adrenal glands. These adrenal glands are located near the kidneys and are responsible for multiple actions. 

In older hamsters, tumors are commonly found around any part of the lymphatic system. Missed biology class in the school and don’t know what the lymphatic system is? Basically, the lymphatic system includes organs like lymph nodes, thymus, spleen, and liver. 

The lymphatic system is responsible for maintaining the body-fluids levels in the body. Moreover, they also play a crucial role in protecting the body against illness. The tumors that form around the lymphatic system are known as Lymphomas.  

There is another kind of lymphoma tumor called T-cell lymphoma. T-cell lymphoma tumors are found in adult hamsters and affect the skin.  

As mentioned earlier, tumors can form on any part of the hamster’s body. However, Tumors form in the eyes, intestines, womb, fat, hair follicles, and brain more commonly than other body parts.

We will discuss the most effective treatment of benign tumors later in the article therefore stay tuned.

Cancer In Hamsters

Cancer is in fact a type of tumor but it spreads. The type of tumor that spreads is called malignant also known as cancer commonly. You might be well aware that cancer can develop in all types of animals including humans. 

The bad news is that chances of recovering from these types of tumors are pretty low for the hamsters. But, the good news is that malignant tumors are only found in 4% of hamsters. Hence, there are very few chances that your hamster may have grown such a fatal tumor.

Malignant tumors start growing on one organ and spread to different body parts with time. 

Where Does Cancer Develop?

Just like benign tumors, malignant tumors can also start growing at any body part or organ of the hamster. The only difference is that, with time, malignant tumors start spreading to the other parts of the body.

Most commonly, the growth of cancer starts from hormone-glands and reproductory organs in hamsters. The eyes are also one of the organs that are more prone to cancer as compared to other organs in hamsters. 

Cancer in the lungs and digestive system is also not very rare. According to the factual data, 

cancer is more common in female hamsters than male hamsters. Typically, in female hamsters, cancer usually starts developing around the reproductive tract. 

The chances of cancer’s growth in the body of hamsters are directly related to age. The older the hamster is greater is the risk of developing cancer.   

How Long Can Hamsters Survive With The Cancer?

Answering our main question is pretty easy now as you completely understand all the related information. Let’s see how long can hamsters survive in the case of both benign and malignant tumors:

In Case Of Benign Tumor

As discussed earlier, benign tumors are the ones that don’t spread to other body parts. These types of tumors are commonly found in most pet hamsters. There is no one-word answer to how long can hamsters survive with benign tumors. 

The amount of time your hamster will live depends upon a lot of factors. These factors include the age of the hamster, the location of the tumor, the treatment you are doing, and your hamster’s diet.

However, it is worth noting that hamsters diagnosed with benign tumors live significantly longer than hamsters diagnosed with cancer. 

On average, hamsters with benign tumors have reportedly lived for around 6 months to 1 year. Considering that the average lifespan of a hamster is around 2-3 years depending upon the breed, this is a lot. In the end, it all depends upon the treatment your hamster is getting, its diet, and the location of the tumor.

For instance, if the tumor is located where it is hurdling respiration or feeding of the hamster, the lifespan of the hamster decreases significantly. Hamsters with such tumors may die in weeks or even days. 

In Case Of Cancer 

If your hamster is diagnosed with cancer then the news is not very good for you. On average, 

hamsters diagnosed with malignant tumors live around 2-3 months depending upon their health condition. This duration can go up to 6 months if you start the treatment before it spreads. 

Diet of the hamster, stage at which the cancer is diagnosed, location of the tumor, and the time when the vet starts treatment are some of the factors that contribute to determining the amount of time the hamster has left to live. The best thing to do in this case is to listen and stick to the instructions of your vet. 

Can Hamsters Heal From Tumors?

Yes! The hamster can heal from the tumor if it is benign and removable. 

Benign tumors are the ones that are commonly found in hamsters. They can grow anywhere, from the leg of your hamster to the eyes. Some tumors are easily accessible hence easily removable however others are not that easy to catch. 

Previously, we learned that benign tumors do not spread. So, cutting the tumor’s roots can help your hamster recover from it completely. Although it sounds good news, as the size of these furballs is very small, many complications can arise. 

Moreover, exotic vets treat such delicate animals therefore you should be prepared for spending some good money. 

If the tumor has developed into a malignant one, recovering from it completely is near to impossible. However, you can take some measures to make the whole process less painful for your hamster. 

Why Do Tumors Develop In Hamsters?

Hamsters are one of the pets that grow tumors more commonly than others. Treating tumors in hamsters is also difficult due to their small sizes. 

Here are some common reasons why tumors start growing in hamsters:


According to studies, pet hamsters grow tumors more frequently than wild hamsters due to their exposure to toxins. There are a lot of things in our households that are toxic for the hamsters. The effect of such toxic substances is much worse on hamsters than on our bodies. 

These toxic substances include glues, paints, and pest control chemicals. Such substances trigger abnormal growth in the hamsters which results in a tumor.

Poor Diet

The feed that your hamster consumes could also be a reason behind the formulation of tumors in your hamster’s body. There are some foods that contain carcinogens. These are the substances that are responsible for the abnormal growth of cells in any living being.

This is why it is recommended to check for any known carcinogens before feeding anything to your hamster. For this purpose, you can do some research to find the best diet for your hamster. 


Genetics is responsible for the growth of proteins in the bodies of living beings. Any changes in this set of instructions can cause abnormal growth of cells. This abnormal growth ends up as a tumor in the body of the hamster. 

Unfortunately, you cannot do anything to stop these changes because this is a natural phenomenon. 

Old Age

Old age is another factor that can contribute to the abnormal growth of cells in a hamster. Just like in the case of genetics, you won’t be able to prevent this situation as well. 

Treatment Of Tumors And Cancer In Hamsters

The only way to treat a tumor is by completely removing it from the body of the hamster. However, this can be a little tricky due to the small size of the hamsters. We previously learned that tumors can grow anywhere in and on the body of the hamster. Sometimes, these tumors are located at places that are inaccessible.

Therefore, removing such tumors is near to impossible. This is what the worse can happen in the case of a benign tumor.

On the other hand, if we talk about malignant tumors, there is no treatment to fully get rid of them. In fact, in worse cases, to relieve your hamster from pain, the vet may suggest euthanasia. Euthanasia is the process of putting down your hamster without pain.

The best you can do for your hamster after the diagnosis is to consult with a competent vet.  In addition, you can feed him a diet that is healthy for him and help him in fighting the disease. 


Here are some questions that will help you learn more about the tumor or cancer in hamsters:

What Do If A Hamster Is In Pain Due To Cancer?

The first thing to do is consult with your vet. With their experience, the vet will suggest you the best possible solutions according to your hamster’s condition.

Is The Process Of Euthanasia Painful?

To a very little extent. The process of euthanasia is designed to give a peaceful ending to your hamster. It is the ultimate solution and is suggested by the vet when there is no hope left and the hamster is in extreme pain.

Can You Treat The Cancer Of Your Hamster At Home?

Yes, you can if you want to but it is not recommended if you don’t have extensive medical knowledge related to hamsters. The best rule of thumb is to take your hamster to a vet and let him deal with the situation with their experience.

Cancer And Tumors In Hamsters Summed Up

The growth of tumors is pretty normal in our beloved pet hamsters. There are various factors that play a crucial role in this abnormal growth of cells. The most prominent factors are poor diet, old age, genetics, and exposure to toxins. 

The average lifespan of a hamster after the diagnosis of a benign tumor can vary from 6 months to a year. In the case of a malignant tumor, the amount of time a hamster lives after diagnosis is around 2-3 months. 

If the tumor is diagnosed on time, and if it is benign, the vet can fully remove it if it is accessible. 

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a little about me
Hi, im Sofia
Hi, im Sofia

I'm a mother of 2, hamster enthusiast, animal lover, and blogger. I have had five hamsters in my life, each with their own personality!

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