Newly Diagnosed and Needs Support

Dear Eva,

My name is Lisa and I work for Dave, a friend of your husband’s. I was telling Dave that my father was recently diagnosed with Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma and he told me to contact you.
 
Dad wasn’t feeling well just after Christmas and thought his left neck glands were swollen. His physician ordered a CT and then a biopsy. He had a PET scan confirming his primary was in the area of his tongue. They sent the report to a major cancer center in Philadelphia for a second opinion. The results came back today
 
Yesterday he had his first chemo treatment and today his first radiation treatment. Those will be daily for the next 7-8 weeks with his next chemo scheduled for March. One of the nurses encouraged him to reach out to other oral cancer survivors. Do you know of any local support groups or any sort of direction I can point them in to get the support they will need (we will all need) to get through this?

Any info/direction/advice you have would be greatly appreciated. I have read your bio and website and am glad you are doing so well!

Hi Lisa,
Your parents will need your support. Be sure to read this page on Six-Step. Also, here are a few questions to be sure to ask:

  • Does the recommendations from the Cancer Center in Philadelphia confirm the same type of radiation treatment he is currently on a course for? It seems as if he already started a treatment plan and unless there was a phone conversation, the recommendations from Philadelphia may not have been considered.
  • Where on the tongue is the primary? Base of tongue (far back out of view)? If so, was your Dad scoped by an ENT?
  • Will the radiation oncologist block the salivary gland on the opposite side from receiving radiation? You should know what percent chance the cancer came over to the other side, and up into that gland which can offer your father a better quality of life post treatment.
  • Has the tissue been tested for HPV? It’s a good to know what the results are. FYI an HPV+ cancer responds very well to treatment.
  • Set your Dad up with some relaxing music to listen to in the radiation treatment room. It will help him to relax and get through the 20 minute treatment which will become harder and harder.

    As far as support, I chair the Oral Cancer Awareness Walk with a committee of mostly survivors. It would be a great group for your parents to meet. I’ll forward information. If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to ask.

    Eva

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