Squamous Cell Throat Cancer & the Elderly

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dnvy
dnvy Member Posts: 7

Hi Folks,

 

I'm new to this forum because my 80 year old Mom aka Best Friend was just diagnosed with SCC. She had a sore on her tongue and she had her PC look at it and he dismissed as a cankor sore. Well, it festered and she kept dismissing, because she does what most of us do ... trust the doctors and keep thinking it will get better.

Last April, Mom suffered a traumatic fall and resulted in brain hemorage; things haven't gotten any better. She suffered an artery blockage in March and since then lost >25 lbs and is highly anemic. Mom is frail and is suffering horrible pain from her mouth. We have no idea what stage she's at, but based on all my readings it's probably not a good one.

Mom's oncologist visit is on Monday, 7/14/14; so we'll know more.  I'd like to know if any one knows the protocol for a patient who has experienced similar? The outcome? Recommendations? References? Does anyone know about cannabis oil and if its an effective treatment? 

First and foremost,I want my Mom's pain to stop; but I also want her to LIVE!

Thank you folks,

dnvy

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

  • CivilMatt
    CivilMatt Member Posts: 4,723 Member
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    80 years young

    dnvy,

    Welcome to the H&N forum I am sorry to hear about your Mom.

    Has your Mom been officially diagnosed with SCC?   Not all canker sores are cancer.

    Healthy folks of many ages make it through treatments.  It can be hard, but doable.  Mine was stage IVa, scc, bot, 1 lymph node & hpv+ (surgery, Erbitux & rads) and I made out alright.

    Your Mom will be fully evaluated of her condition and what treatment options are open to her. Hopefully, she will be ok and your best friend can be around for many more years.

    Matt

  • wmc
    wmc Member Posts: 1,804
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    dnvy Welcome to the HNC group

    Let me first say WELCOME, and sorry you might need to be here. Mine was suppergollit SCC larynex cancer so outhers that had BOT Thoung cancer answer most of your questions. There is many varyables to be consider, overall health, other medical problems, and you said anemic and frail, with heart issues.

    Is the sore the size of a BB, pea, large grape, or walnut? Large grape can be stage 3 or 4 if it has spread to glands. You can have cist's in your throat or toung that are not any thing to be concerned with. I have a small [don'y know true size]cist in the back of my throat at bace of toung that is nothing and I was told many people do as well just don't know it. She might want to see an ENT [Ear noise throat] doctor. You said she will see an oncologist the 14th. You might want to go to a large center that has what is called Tumor boards. That is where all the differant doctors see you and they all come up with the best plane for you to attack it. Go to the best one you can, based on distance and insurance you can, it is really worth it. I recommend ont that is cancer and has a high raiting on ENT as well. [ There are some that are #2 for cancer but #43 for ENT.

    http://health.usnews.com/best-hospitals

    Now remember, it's not cancer until a doctor says it's cancer. I do hope you never here it is. You have come to the best group you can find with people who care and have been there and really understand what you and your mother are going through. They have helped me so much. Read the "Superthread-Read only" at the top, it can answer many questions. The doctor should already have her on pain meds, so put that on your list of questions.

    Now to your question, yes you[she] can survive this with help from friends and family it makes it easier. It is a very bumppy road, but she can go down the road and come out good. Remember to write down your questions you want to ask the doctor, you will not remember then all, trust me. The doctor will say something and you will forget everything. I write them down and hand them to him. Works great he went down the list and answered all, he even wrote the answers on the paper for me. Will keep you both in my prayers. Best of luck to your Mom.

    wmc

  • jim and i
    jim and i Member Posts: 1,788 Member
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    So sorry to hear this. I

    So sorry to hear this. I can't tell you if your mom will survive this or not but I can say they are good at controling the pain, nausea, etc. You will find out a lot about your mother's diagnosis when you meet the oncologist on Monday. I know that seems like an eternity. I found most doctors will not give you a survival rate unless you ask. Even then they are basing it on averages. My husbands oncologist said you have to keep in mind that average is figured with the smallest percentage and the largest. My husband was given a less than one year survival rate when his cancer spread but lived three years, so doctors don't really know for sure. Keep a notebook for visits, etc. Write down questions as you think of them, then write down the answers. Also, you found the best resource you could have found with this site. Lot's of people here with knowledge, experience and support.

    Praying for you and your mother.

    Debbie

     

  • debbiejeanne
    debbiejeanne Member Posts: 3,102 Member
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    dnvy, just want to say

    dnvy, just want to say welcome to the group where we hate to see new members...lol.  so sorry you need to be here.  if your mom does have cancer it will be a rough road and her health status will play a big part in how she does.  if she is in poor health, the road will be a little rougher.  many here, of all ages, have made it thru and are still here to tell their stories.  i will keep you and your mom in my prayers.  hoping for good news Monday.  Take someone with you if you can to help you listen and remember what the doc tells you.  it will be a lot of information all at one time so an extra set of ears would be great.  please let us know what comes out of monday's meeting.  praying for the best.

    God bless you and your mom,

    dj

  • hwt
    hwt Member Posts: 2,328 Member
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    dnvy, just want to say

    dnvy, just want to say welcome to the group where we hate to see new members...lol.  so sorry you need to be here.  if your mom does have cancer it will be a rough road and her health status will play a big part in how she does.  if she is in poor health, the road will be a little rougher.  many here, of all ages, have made it thru and are still here to tell their stories.  i will keep you and your mom in my prayers.  hoping for good news Monday.  Take someone with you if you can to help you listen and remember what the doc tells you.  it will be a lot of information all at one time so an extra set of ears would be great.  please let us know what comes out of monday's meeting.  praying for the best.

    God bless you and your mom,

    dj

    dnvy

    Your Mom should not be in pain. At the very least, call the office and ask for a script for Magic Mouthwash, sometimes called swish & swallow. It numbs the mouth temporarily and gives relief.

  • dnvy
    dnvy Member Posts: 7
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    CivilMatt said:

    80 years young

    dnvy,

    Welcome to the H&N forum I am sorry to hear about your Mom.

    Has your Mom been officially diagnosed with SCC?   Not all canker sores are cancer.

    Healthy folks of many ages make it through treatments.  It can be hard, but doable.  Mine was stage IVa, scc, bot, 1 lymph node & hpv+ (surgery, Erbitux & rads) and I made out alright.

    Your Mom will be fully evaluated of her condition and what treatment options are open to her. Hopefully, she will be ok and your best friend can be around for many more years.

    Matt

    80 years young

    Hi Matt,

    Thank you for your welcome and positive thoughts.

    Yes, Mom has officially been diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma of the tongue. She had a huge sore on the side of her tongue and it has spread to the base of her tongue. She is also having pain in her ear on the same side.

    We'll know more come Monday and I'll be back on here to share.

    Thank you so much for your kind words and positve thinking!

    Dnvy

     

     

     

     

  • Amy0309
    Amy0309 Member Posts: 22
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    Hi, I do not respond much. 

    Hi, I do not respond much.  But thought I would as my mother had treatment at 82.  She had hypopharangeal stage II.  They do not usually do Chemotherapy at this age, she had debulking of the tumor and 35 radiation sessions.  She survived the treatments like a trooper and is still cancer free after 1.5 years.  The side effects have been devistating though. She cannot swallow anything and aspirates her syliva into her lungs.  She now has MRSA(bacterial pneumonia) and getting weaker.  The hypopharangeal cancer is in the worst location, it is the area that protects the lungs when we swallow, so where the cancer is and the staging is very important. 

    A therapist strongly told us before hand to stop the radiation before 35 sessions as to not do so much damage.  We did discuss this with the dr.s but they all said 35 sessions was the treatment and she is still cancer free.  Had she stopped it earlier we may not be cancer free, but her quality life may have been better.

    As others have told you there is no reason your mother should be in pain, talk to the dr.'s, let them know all her symptoms and they should help. 

    Best of luck to you and your sweet mother.

    Amy

     

     

  • debbiejeanne
    debbiejeanne Member Posts: 3,102 Member
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    Amy0309 said:

    Hi, I do not respond much. 

    Hi, I do not respond much.  But thought I would as my mother had treatment at 82.  She had hypopharangeal stage II.  They do not usually do Chemotherapy at this age, she had debulking of the tumor and 35 radiation sessions.  She survived the treatments like a trooper and is still cancer free after 1.5 years.  The side effects have been devistating though. She cannot swallow anything and aspirates her syliva into her lungs.  She now has MRSA(bacterial pneumonia) and getting weaker.  The hypopharangeal cancer is in the worst location, it is the area that protects the lungs when we swallow, so where the cancer is and the staging is very important. 

    A therapist strongly told us before hand to stop the radiation before 35 sessions as to not do so much damage.  We did discuss this with the dr.s but they all said 35 sessions was the treatment and she is still cancer free.  Had she stopped it earlier we may not be cancer free, but her quality life may have been better.

    As others have told you there is no reason your mother should be in pain, talk to the dr.'s, let them know all her symptoms and they should help. 

    Best of luck to you and your sweet mother.

    Amy

     

     

    smy, i'm sorry your mom is so

    amy, i'm sorry your mom is so sick and fighting so much.  i am putting you both in my prayers.  praying for your mom to get stronger and for the mrsa and aspiration to get better.

    God bless you both.

    dj

  • Amy0309
    Amy0309 Member Posts: 22
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    smy, i'm sorry your mom is so

    amy, i'm sorry your mom is so sick and fighting so much.  i am putting you both in my prayers.  praying for your mom to get stronger and for the mrsa and aspiration to get better.

    God bless you both.

    dj

    Thank you Debbie!

    Thank you Debbie!

  • dnvy
    dnvy Member Posts: 7
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    My 80 Year Old Mom and SCC

    Hi Folks,

    We learned on Monday, July 14th, that Mom's cancer is Stage IV. It was explained by the doctors that anytime the cancer spreads to a lymph node it is staged as a IV.  The team of doctors at Sitemen Cancer Center in St. Louis stated on 07/14 that Mom's cancer was operable and they believe will be successful. She's scheduled to have a partical glosectomy and neck resection on Friday, 7/25; doctors anticpate that she'll be in the hospital for 4-5 days. All of this is tentative because we're awaiting the PET results from this past Friday.

    Based on the blogs and articles that I've read, our Mom is getting ready for the fight of her life and to endure pain unlike anything she's ever faced. How do we encourage her to keep going? Has anyone been a patient or have a loved one at the Siteman Center for this type of cancer? How long did it take to recover from the surgery? Did you have a feeding tube and tracheostomy, too? Was speach therapy required? 

    One more thing; Mom is in constant pain and I'm told they can't give her anything more unless it's morphine. She's on the highest dosage of Oxycontin and she has a mouthwash to help numb, but it's not doing anything for her.

    Thank you to all you folks who've responded to my 1st post! Your input is greatly appreciated!!!

     

  • dnvy
    dnvy Member Posts: 7
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    Amy0309 said:

    Hi, I do not respond much. 

    Hi, I do not respond much.  But thought I would as my mother had treatment at 82.  She had hypopharangeal stage II.  They do not usually do Chemotherapy at this age, she had debulking of the tumor and 35 radiation sessions.  She survived the treatments like a trooper and is still cancer free after 1.5 years.  The side effects have been devistating though. She cannot swallow anything and aspirates her syliva into her lungs.  She now has MRSA(bacterial pneumonia) and getting weaker.  The hypopharangeal cancer is in the worst location, it is the area that protects the lungs when we swallow, so where the cancer is and the staging is very important. 

    A therapist strongly told us before hand to stop the radiation before 35 sessions as to not do so much damage.  We did discuss this with the dr.s but they all said 35 sessions was the treatment and she is still cancer free.  Had she stopped it earlier we may not be cancer free, but her quality life may have been better.

    As others have told you there is no reason your mother should be in pain, talk to the dr.'s, let them know all her symptoms and they should help. 

    Best of luck to you and your sweet mother.

    Amy

     

     

    Thank You, Amy

    Hi Amy,

     

    I've not been on here for a few days and just read your message. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences with your Mom. How is your Mom doing these days? I just googled debulking of the tumor. Why did the doctors decide on this procedure? And lastly, would you have recommended that your Mom go for less RT knowing what you know now?

     

     

  • debbiejeanne
    debbiejeanne Member Posts: 3,102 Member
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    dnvy said:

    My 80 Year Old Mom and SCC

    Hi Folks,

    We learned on Monday, July 14th, that Mom's cancer is Stage IV. It was explained by the doctors that anytime the cancer spreads to a lymph node it is staged as a IV.  The team of doctors at Sitemen Cancer Center in St. Louis stated on 07/14 that Mom's cancer was operable and they believe will be successful. She's scheduled to have a partical glosectomy and neck resection on Friday, 7/25; doctors anticpate that she'll be in the hospital for 4-5 days. All of this is tentative because we're awaiting the PET results from this past Friday.

    Based on the blogs and articles that I've read, our Mom is getting ready for the fight of her life and to endure pain unlike anything she's ever faced. How do we encourage her to keep going? Has anyone been a patient or have a loved one at the Siteman Center for this type of cancer? How long did it take to recover from the surgery? Did you have a feeding tube and tracheostomy, too? Was speach therapy required? 

    One more thing; Mom is in constant pain and I'm told they can't give her anything more unless it's morphine. She's on the highest dosage of Oxycontin and she has a mouthwash to help numb, but it's not doing anything for her.

    Thank you to all you folks who've responded to my 1st post! Your input is greatly appreciated!!!

     

    dnvy, all you can do is be

    dnvy, all you can do is be there for your mom and no matter what, stay positive for her.  as for the pain, there are many out there, i'd try different ones until i find one that works for her.  i'm sorry she is in so much pain.  saying prayers for the pain to go away and for surgery and tx to go well for your mom.  please let us know how surgery goes.  will be thinking of you on friday.

    God bless you and your mom,

    dj

  • Amy0309
    Amy0309 Member Posts: 22
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    dnvy said:

    Thank You, Amy

    Hi Amy,

     

    I've not been on here for a few days and just read your message. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences with your Mom. How is your Mom doing these days? I just googled debulking of the tumor. Why did the doctors decide on this procedure? And lastly, would you have recommended that your Mom go for less RT knowing what you know now?

     

     

    dnvy, so sorry to hear of

    dnvy, so sorry to hear of your mothers pain.  It is so hard when your loved one is suffering. Debbiejeanne gave you good advice, ask the doctors to try a different pain med, what works best for one may not be the best for the other.  When I said debulking, I mean they removd as much of the tumor as they could without cutting into too much muscle and tissue.  Her cancer was in the hypopharangeal area which is the most difficult area.  I would think she would say, she wished she stopped the Radiation earlier, but would not have made a different desision.  Hind sight is always better.  Please talk to you doctors about that, where my mothers radiation was directed is what affected her swallowing abilities and aspirations, that may not be the case for your mom.  But being fully informed and asking any and all questions to make the best desision for yourself is important and obviously you are helping your mother do just that.  My thoughts and prayer to you and your mom.

    Amy

  • jackflash22
    jackflash22 Member Posts: 524 Member
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    dnvy, all you can do is be

    dnvy, all you can do is be there for your mom and no matter what, stay positive for her.  as for the pain, there are many out there, i'd try different ones until i find one that works for her.  i'm sorry she is in so much pain.  saying prayers for the pain to go away and for surgery and tx to go well for your mom.  please let us know how surgery goes.  will be thinking of you on friday.

    God bless you and your mom,

    dj

    sorry to hear about your

    sorry to hear about your bestie friend...your mum. It's worse for loved ones who have to sit on the side lines and watch someone we feel for..love.. In pain. My daughter took a break from work so she could be with me while I went through treatment. I had back of tongue cancer and 3 cancerous node. I had a neck dissection and radiotherapy. The op I don't remember much about at all not till the final week I was in hospital...2 weeks... I can't remember if I had pain. My neck was numb so no pain there. I vaguely remember being told to press this button if I felt pain it was a morphine dispenser thingy. My grown up kids came in to visit at one time I woke up to see them all around the bed staring at me. I thought this is it they have been summoned here for the last time. It wasn't that at all they just decided to give me a surprise as they live in different parts of the UK. They gave me a shock. Even my little great granddaughter visited, I was allowed to drag my feeding machine and other things around the grounds and take her for a walk,  it was summer a bit like today hot and sunny. The 2 weeks went quickly and I was fine when I came home. No pain. After a 6 week break I did 6 weeks of radiotherapy. Rads are painless but some get side affects I didn't get sores in my mouth or bad burns to my neck. I had slight burns but nothing that worried me. I did get a complete blockage in my throat and now have a PEG tube. That's not the norm thing. I hope your mum goes through her treatment like me.