LSU mascot "Mike the Tiger" diagnosed with cancer

Sad news from the world of college athletics, where LSU announced that Mike VI, the live tiger who serves as one of the most recognizable mascots in all of sports, has been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer.

Mike's doctor and student workers first noticed a swelling on the right side of Mike's face a few weeks ago, and after being sedated on May 12th, he was tested, and diagnosed with spindle cell sarcoma.

While the cancer is not curable, he will undergo an aggressive treatment plan, which should hopefully keep him alive another 1-2 years. Here are more details from LSU:

Dr. Baker consulted with specialists at LSU and around the country to put together Mike's treatment plan, which consists of a new and highly sophisticated form of radiation therapy called "Stereotactic radiotherapy," or SRT. SRT delivers radiation to the tumor in a highly focused manner, sparing surrounding, normal tissues so complications are reduced. Treatment may be given as a single, high dose or as fractionated doses given daily for up to three days. This treatment is not curative but should extend Mike's life and allow him to live comfortably for some time. SRT will be performed by experts at Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center here in Baton Rouge, in conjunction with Mike's veterinary team.

Eventually, the radiation-resistant cells remaining in the tumor will resume growth. As for timeframes, it is estimated that without treatment Mike VI could live 1-2 months; with treatment, perhaps 1-2 years.

Mike VI has served as LSU's mascot since 2007.