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Thread: Squamous Cell Carcinoma- Started in tonsil spread to lymph node- Recovery process?

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    Squamous Cell Carcinoma- Started in tonsil spread to lymph node- Recovery process?

    My Dad was diagnosed with Squamous Cell Carcinoma in April, with the cancer starting on the tonsil and then moving to a lymph node in the neck. His prognosis was pretty good, 35 radiation treatments and 7 chemo appts.

    He got through 31/35, he opted for no PEG tube, and so he was able to eat until about that 31st treatment. He ended up getting dehydrated and we took him to the hospital to help get that fixed. They gave him a PICC line, but that didn't end up working too well, he went home with it, which got infected and he ended up with a high fever and we had to take him back to the hospital via ambulence. He ended up getting the PEG tube this time, as we wouldn't let him go home without it.

    That was a couple weeks ago, and his doctor encouraged him to complete the other 4 treatments to finish this, and hopefully keep it away for good. He responded very quickly to the treatment, so we're hopeful and optimistic.

    He's gotten sick to his stomach from some of the formula, but with the help of the ondansetron, he seems to be able to keep the feedings down, and is starting to get the required calories he needs.

    Our question is, he's been finished with the treatments for four days now. I know everyone responds differently, but does anyone have personal experience about the healing process and when he might start to be able to eat normal food? He's starting to get bummed about this and said he's waking up everyday hoping things will start to heal.

    The doctor told us it would take a while, and that's what we tell him as he's basically having to grow a new throat from the radiation. But, does anyone have any personal experiences going through this?

    Thanks to everyone for your help and support, this is a great site.

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    Hi! I can't tell you anything about recovery times, but I am starting my treatment of 35 radiation and 3 chemo(Cisplatin). Apparently, the Cisplatin causes the most diificult side effects and I am not looking forward to this. I had my tonsils removed but they couldn't find the primary so the radiation treatment is over a larger area. I have a peg tube and picc line in place so I hope I can keep my strength up, but my big concern is the chances of a complete disease-free recovery...I don't know what the odds are. I wish your Dad the best of luck and a good recovery, keep us updated!

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    Good luck to you.....Sounds like you've got a good plan in place, you'll get through it! Keep us updated as well.

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    i would look at 6 weeks before any real food..the imporatnt thing is to get the calories he needs to live! i still have some hoarseness and mucus and i finished treatment april 24..dont get in a hurry..
    its Gods time now..he's alive! live in the moment..one foot in front of the other..he WILL get better..in due time..still some days i drink Ensure and nothing else..just tired of fighting..fatigue will
    be a factor in some decisions..hydrate..hydrate..relax and go with the course

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    billb1981,

    I might be able to shed some light on your father's recovery. Keep in mind, everyone is different and my recovery period may not be the same for everyone. I was 45 years old when diagnosed and in excellent health. I lobbied hard not to get the G-tube but, my head and neck coordinator convinced me to have it done primarily to avoid the issues that your dad unfortunately experienced. Having to stop treatment, especially so close to completion was something my doctors strongly opposed. Anyway, I finished my last radiation treatment on April 14, 2011 and I did not have my tube removed until mid July! I had two chemo treatments with Cisplatin and everything tasted like hell, like I had a mouthfull of pennies. My doctors had told me that the extensive radiation I had would continue to work up to six weeks post treatment. So eating was problematic for quite some time. I lost 35 lbs during treatment and it took quite a while for me to start gaining back. The weight loss was due to lack of calories. Although my doctors encouraged me to battle through the difficult swallowing and bad taste of everything to suppliment my all liquid diet in an attempt to gain weight, it was very tough. I still have issues with swallowing some things and certain foods do not taste the same as they once did. So, it is a gradual improvement and it can be very frustrating, just have to be patient....it does get better.

    One thing that has helped me is chewing a lot of sugar free gum. It aids in keeping my mouth moist since I don't produce any saliva, or at least very little! On a positive note, by August of the same year I had regained enough strength and put on a bit of weight that I ventured on a hike with my brother up a portion of Pikes Peak. About a 7 mile hike on the Barr Trail and by September, I had started regular workouts at a local health clubthat continued through to this last March. Running, weight training, etc. It turned around quick. Something you may want to check with your dad's doctors about is dietary supliments like a high quality protein powder and a good multi-vitamin. I took a powdered whey protein supliment two to three times a day and a heavy duty multi-vitamin daily and I feel it sped up the healing process. Tell your dad to hang in there, best wishes!

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    im three month out, same diagnosis as your dad..same treatment..and i waited to get my PEG tube too..took about a month out of treatment to begin eating solid food..problem was the taste more than swallowing pain..keep drinking water, or put water in the peg tube..hes alive,and needs to stay hydrated and nourished..right now its about healing,living,surviving,,..fun can wait till later..it will get better..im tasting food more now,and enjoying life more..but i still have throat issues(mucus,small airway) and i snore alot..but whatever..im back to work and normality for the most part..

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    My mom was just diagnosed with the same type of cancer. It started on her cheek on the inside, like a small ulcer. Then it grew, and her doctor did a biopsy and it ended up being Squamous Cell Carcinoma. She was sent to a surgeon that removed it by cutting it out. Then just weeks later it grew back and now its bigger and even spread down to her throat. They told her to have a peg and port put in and she did. Then she had a surgery to have her tonsil removed and found that the cancer in her cheek has gotten even bigger and now she has a knot on her neck? They just sent her to have another scan done to see where all the cancer is now, and still waiting for those results (should have it Monday). They already scheduled her another surgery to cut out the cancer in her cheek again but this time a lot more tissue will be removed and may be some bone. they said they will have to put in titanium rods in her jaw so she can have normal jaw movement. Then she will be in ICU and admitted into the hospital for up to 14 days. After that she will start chemo and radiation on the rest. They said 40 treatments?? My mom is 61 is her chances still pretty high to survive this? I just lost my dad that was 62 just 3 weeks ago and don't know why yet.. still waiting on results of his autopsy. Its been a very sad and hard past month for me... I can't lose my mom too. I don't have much family left...

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    Administrator Top User Kermica's Avatar
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    Save, I am very sory for your loss and for your Mom's struggle with SCC. It sounds like she is a fighter and that the doctors are doing all that they can to help her get past this so she can enjoy life. Be there for her and, if you can, think about having a conversation with a professional counselor about what you are going through, it is surely a lot on you right now.

    Good luck to your Mom in her treatments, may she fly through and beat this beast back into oblivion.

    Good health,

    kermica
    When the world says, "Give up," Hope whispers, "Try it one more time."
    ~Author Unknown

    Age 63
    Follicular lymphoma diagnosed August 08, Stage 1
    2 cycles (20 treatments each) localized radiation to tumor sites. Remission confirmed July 09
    Restaged to Stage 3 May 2010
    Recurrence confirmed May 2010 - Watch and Wait commenced - multiple scans with minimal progression.
    Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma diagnosed September 2012. Mohs surgical excision 09/2012. Successful, clean edges all around.
    Significant progression detected in PET scan - December 2012
    Biopsy to check for transformation 1/18/2013 - negative for that but full of lymphoma, of course.
    July 2013 - Rescan due to progression shows one tumor (among many) very suspect for transformation, another biopsy 8/12/13.
    August 2013 - No evidence of transformation, 6 courses of B+R commence 8/29 due to "extensive, systemic disease".
    February 2014 - Diagnostic PET scan states: Negative PET scan. Previous noted hypermetabolic cervical, axillary, iliac and inguinal lymphadenopathy has resolved. Doctor confirms full remission.
    June 2014 - started 2 year maintenance Rituxin, 1 infusion every 3 months. Doctor confirms lump under right arm are "suspicious" for recurrent disease, deferring scans for now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kermica View Post
    Save, I am very sory for your loss and for your Mom's struggle with SCC. It sounds like she is a fighter and that the doctors are doing all that they can to help her get past this so she can enjoy life. Be there for her and, if you can, think about having a conversation with a professional counselor about what you are going through, it is surely a lot on you right now.

    Good luck to your Mom in her treatments, may she fly through and beat this beast back into oblivion.

    Good health,

    kermica
    What causes this kind of cancer? My mom does not drink or smoke, never has. She is not out in the sun a lot, she is over weight but in pretty good health except high blood pressure. She also was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism but they killed her thyroid. That was last year I believe and she had her gallbladder removed too. I still can't figure out what caused this type of cancer?

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    Administrator Top User Kermica's Avatar
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    Unfortunately, this is a question that,for most of us, is unansweable. At its most basic level, what happened is that a cell or groupd of cells in your Mom's body underwent a gentic change that allowed this to develop. The why could be exposure to pesticides when she was a child, second hand smoke, industrial toxins,, etc...we just don't know. It is better, if you can, to focus on your Mom and her needs now because that is something where you can influence and contribute.

    Good health,'

    kermica
    When the world says, "Give up," Hope whispers, "Try it one more time."
    ~Author Unknown

    Age 63
    Follicular lymphoma diagnosed August 08, Stage 1
    2 cycles (20 treatments each) localized radiation to tumor sites. Remission confirmed July 09
    Restaged to Stage 3 May 2010
    Recurrence confirmed May 2010 - Watch and Wait commenced - multiple scans with minimal progression.
    Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma diagnosed September 2012. Mohs surgical excision 09/2012. Successful, clean edges all around.
    Significant progression detected in PET scan - December 2012
    Biopsy to check for transformation 1/18/2013 - negative for that but full of lymphoma, of course.
    July 2013 - Rescan due to progression shows one tumor (among many) very suspect for transformation, another biopsy 8/12/13.
    August 2013 - No evidence of transformation, 6 courses of B+R commence 8/29 due to "extensive, systemic disease".
    February 2014 - Diagnostic PET scan states: Negative PET scan. Previous noted hypermetabolic cervical, axillary, iliac and inguinal lymphadenopathy has resolved. Doctor confirms full remission.
    June 2014 - started 2 year maintenance Rituxin, 1 infusion every 3 months. Doctor confirms lump under right arm are "suspicious" for recurrent disease, deferring scans for now.

    Remember the Rules!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by savemymomfromcancer View Post
    What causes this kind of cancer? My mom does not drink or smoke, never has. She is not out in the sun a lot, she is over weight but in pretty good health except high blood pressure. She also was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism but they killed her thyroid. That was last year I believe and she had her gallbladder removed too. I still can't figure out what caused this type of cancer?
    High blood sugar levels, improper diet, pollutants and additives in food and water, even attitude and exercise or lack of all can contribute to cancer... come to think of it, this is all one does or don't do. Cancer will appear at the weakest point in the body when our body's natural defenses get too weak to get rid of cancer cells.

    Cancer cells are known to thrive in acidic and poorly oxygenated environments.
    Two simple tests to check your overall health level in this regard*
    - blood glucose (should be under 110 and around 87 at fasting rest, that is in the morning before any food - use any inexpensive blood glucose testing kit as used by diabetics)
    - blood acidity level - should be on the basic side. Simple test, use pH test paper strips available in health food stores or online; measure urine acidity.

    (*) then adjust diet and other factors accordingly - more information, GIYF - or note that very healthy people rarely get cancers...

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    Administrator Top User Didee's Avatar
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    The citations to scientific studies results on this are where?
    Aussie, age 57
    1987 CIN 111. Cervix lasered, no further problems.

    Dx Peripheral T Cell Lymphoma stage 2B bulky, aggressive Dec/09.
    6 chop14 and Neulasta.
    Clean PET April/10, 18 rads 36gy mop up. All done May 2010
    Iffy scan Nov. 2011.
    Scan Feb 2012 .still in remission.
    Still NED Nov 2012. On to yearly bloods now.

    May/2012. U/sound, thyroid scan, FNB. Benign adenoma. A lump in otherwords, nodule if you wish to be specific.

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    Out of all the things I have lost, I miss my mind the most.

  13. #13
    I am so sorry for your loss! Please hang in there. I've lost both my parents. They both had cancer. You will get through this. Dig deep inside. The strength is in there. I know how scary it is. I don't have much family either. Find a good friend. They lie in places you don't even realize. I found this out recently since I've been diagnosed. Keep busy! I can't say enough about that. Sitting around the house thinking about it is the worst possible thing you can do.. The best advice I can give you is.... Exercise. Especially outside. Ride a bike. Go for a walk in the early morning and listen to the birds sing, feel the breeze. Live in the moment. You will be amazed how it clears your head. Email me if you like. I'll be happy to talk to you anytime. Good luck!!!!!

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    AndrewH, your direct experience with having cancer is?

 
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