My mom Pat, a non-smoker, was 58 years old when she was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma. A few months before my wedding, she visited a dentist about her ill fitting dentures and pain in the area. She also complained that she had ear pain, headaches and would often notice blood on her pillowcase in the morning. When she was diagnosed her cancer was stage III and she endured a 12 hour surgery to remove the tumor. The surgery was successful.
Only three weeks later, the tumor returned in exactly the same location. She then had chemotherapy and radiation, fighting hard for 6 months before passing away. I miss her terribly. I think about her every day.
Neither she nor anyone in our family knew about oral cancer. If we did, my mom might still be here today.
I feel fortunate she was able to witness my wedding day.
Submitted by Stefanie Fisher