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SEEKING INFORMATION FROM AN ELDERLY PERSON WITH A RARE TYPE OF PALATAL CANCER

RSandy
Posts: 1
Joined: Mar 2013

My mom is a healthy,active and strong woman of 80 years old,who never used alcohol or tabacco.She was recently diagnosed with Squamous Cell Carcinoma involving the upper ALVEOLAR RIDGE (upper gum) and her two front teeth are loose due to the carcinoma which is invading the bone and ANTERIOR PALATE. A CAT Scan measured the lesion to be approximately .5 CENTIMETERS and at least superficially invading the HARD PALATE.Pathology report states cells are WELL DIFFERENTIATED. Thankfuliy ,a PET Scan revealed all lymph nodes are clear and the cancer is confined to the area described above.

We visited and consulted with several well known surgeons. who discussed a Free Flap procedure which involves an extensive surgery and skin grafting.They also relayed that the lesion can be removed as well as the bone of the upper Alveolar Ridge resulting in a permanent hole through the Hard Palate. A prosthetic device called an OBTURATOR would be constructed and worn during the daytime after healing from the surgical procedure. In the meantime, a temporary apparatus would be constructed.

Although we were relieved to hear that the cancer is treatable,we were also told that radiation may be required;and after surgery and radiation if necessary,the lesion may reoccur.we don't want to appear to be insesitive,however we are concerned about making a decision,one or the other,that will result in a facial deformity which could lead to depression.Please understand this is my mom's decision;we are just trying to provide her with information that will allow her to make the most informed decision possibble.To do nothing would be disparaging;however,to make a decision that would be life-altering would be even worse at 80.,since it would take away her current quality of life and replace it with permanent pain and suffering.When we visited the sugeons,they would not provide any definitive answer regarding the aggressiveness of this type of cancer.Would you have any feedback for us regarding this matter?

Is there anyone who opted not to have surgery or radiation and instead decided to monitor their situation by having periodic CAT and PET scans?Also,what factors lead you to make this choice?I would appreciate it if you can please share the details and outcome of this choice with us.   

Thanks for being such an inspiration and GOD BLESS YOU

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