Dear Eva: Lump in neck is Oral Cancer!

Dear Eva,

I’m 57 years old and  had a lump in my neck for two years.  It NEVER bothered me.  My wife kept telling me to see a doctor.  I had an appointment with a physician for my sciatica.  The doc said, “Is there anything else that’s bothering you?”

I said, “Oh yea.  I have had this lump in my neck.”

Three weeks later, it was confirmed I had oropharyngeal cancer.  If I only knew that a lump in the neck could be throat cancer, I would have been to the doctor so much sooner!  I found your website and see you educate that a lump in the neck is a sign of oropharynx cancer.

I just had surgery: a radical neck dissection,  and part of the base of my tongue removed.  I can speak OK, but I’m having a hard time swallowing and it’s getting worse.  I’m trying to be positive for my wife and 12 yr old son.  But, it’s a challenge…especially, when I don’t sleep well from the pain and anxiety. My doctor has me doing exercises with ice to help my swallowing, but it’s not improving. Do you have any advice?

Bill G. from Philadelphia

Dear Bill,

Have you tried some alternative options?  Google a myofascial neuromuscular massage therapist in your area.  Consider acupuncture, too.  It didn’t work for me, but I hear it has worked for many.  Also, be sure to massage the area yourself often.  Don’t be afraid to touch the area around the scar on your neck, especially near the front center, and loosen the scar tissue adhesions.  That may also help you swallow more easily.

Please don’t rely on your feeding tube for nutrition.  Force yourself to continue eating by mouth so you don’t lose the ability to swallow. Were you tested for HPV?  You should know whether your cancer was associated with the HPV virus.

Call or write anytime you want to talk  -Eva

Dear Eva,

I’m retired from working for a telecommunications company. I thought the chemicals from the poles I climbed everyday could have been the cause of my cancer, because I never smoked.  Then when I learned my cancer was HPV+, I knew I must have gotten it from one of the women I had a relationship with during the years I was single.  I am doing everything I can to teach my son to understand that HPV is sexually transmitted. In fact, he has completed the three Gardisil vaccinations. I shared some of his hoagie today and my swallowing and appetite has improved so I’m feeling hopeful  -Bill

Dear Bill,

Did you visit a dentist regularly?  During the last two years, had your neck been palpated by the dentist or hygienist? Eva

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