BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - LSU reported Monday morning that its live tiger mascot, Mike VI, has been diagnosed with cancer.
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Officials said Mike VI has been diagnosed with spindle cell sarcoma. They added his vet, Dr. David Baker, and veterinary student caretakers noticed swelling on the right side of his face.
According to a news release, doctors determined Mike has a tumor in his face near his nose. Baker said he believes the tumor has been there for some months.
"Biopsy analysis led to a diagnosis of spindle cell sarcoma, which is a malignant tumor derived from fibrous connective tissues of the bone," the release stated. "This is an extremely rare form of cancer, but this type of cancer is unlikely to spread to other areas of the body."
Doctors said the tumor is "inoperable" and "incurable" but they will use radiation treatment to stop its growth and prolong his life. Officials said Mike's treatment plan will consist of a new, highly sophisticated form of radiation therapy called "Stereotactic radiotherapy" (SRT), which delivers radiation to the tumor in a highly focused manner, sparing the surrounding healthy tissue.
They added it is estimated Mike VI could perhaps live a year or two with the treatment, but only about a month or two without it.
The treatment will take place at Mary Bird Perkins - Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center in Baton Rouge.
According to officials, Mike VI currently does not appear to be in pain and his attitude has not changed.
Fans were surprised and saddened by the news.
"I think I'm like every LSU fan, Mike is a beloved tiger," said Barry Byrd. "We have a great veterinary department this is a wonderful university and we're gonna all hope and pray that he gets well."
"People have a real connection to him and people come out every day to see him and the kids especially, the kids love him. A really sad day for the LSU community," said Laura Moyer,
When doctors were asked if they plan on retiring Mike VI, they said they haven't even considered it and are only focusing on Mike's health.