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throat cancer

Posts: 4
Joined: Mar 2009

HI Everyone:

My sister has been diagnosed with T3 N0 M0 squamous cell cancer of the throat. I have gotten all the information I can from her. She was a bit dazed today at her doctors and didn't retain a lot of the more terminological sounding details.

In October 2008 she started having problems with her voice. She and her family had just moved to Texas, so she thought it was an allergic reaction to the change in climate. She decided to go to the doctor and have it checked a little later on (can't remember when) and her doctor told her she had a polyp on her vocal chords that needed to be removed. So surgery was scheduled, and at the beginning of March she had it removed. It turned out to be malignant, and the PET scan she had provided the above results.

I am wondering if anyone here has any information to share, or has survived this diagnosis. Of course, we are worried about her voice box and would like to avoid a laryngectomy.

She is scheduled to go in on April 2 for a combination of chemo/radiation treatments, and will have to undergo these for 7 weeks, every single day.

I would appreciate any feedback anyone can give. She is 51 years old and has never smoked. She has also never drank excessively, however, at this point we're not all that concerned as to what caused it, we'd just like to know the chances if it going away after treatment, with her voicebox intact. Has anyone out there survived the same diagnosis, and does the treatment really work? I have read a lot on the internet already, but need inspirational stories of survival to share with her. We are extremely grateful to God that it hasn't spread to her lymph nodes or any of the surrounding area.

I'm a bit confused, because at first I thought they had removed the entire tumor, but tonight she said they had only removed the part that had wrapped around her vocal chord. So I am not completely clear as to whether or not the tumor was ON the vocal chord or just near it. She said something tonight like it was above the vocal chords, which to me sounds like a Supraglottal tumor. She also said there is some of the tumor left, and that is why she needs radiation and chemo. I had thought earlier that they had gotten most of the tumor, and there were cells left at the site of attachment.

At any rate...any feedback that can be provided will be appreciated. God Bless...

hunpot's picture
Posts: 90
Joined: Nov 2008

jeff i think you could call what your sister has as squamous cell, im not a pro but from the sounds of what you decribed thats what it sounds like, if you look or search youll see many differnt stories, advice, help , support under that wording of cancer.

There are many people here on this site who have beat this and are doing absolutely well.
It all depends on the individual and evryone acts differntly to the treatments so ALWAYS stay positive and have FAITH and BELIEVE becus it can be beat. Be there for your sister for support and just let her now that you want to be there and wouldnt change it for the world, doctors are not always right keep that in mind..MIRACLES happen everday and it may happen to you .
Take each day slow and day by day. It will be a long hard battle for her with im sure many ups and downs but just consider it a bump in the road and in time youll get over it. tell her to take the pre medicines and precautions doctors tell her about no matter what THEY will help with sickness etc..
i can see on here that there are many fighters and survivors so it can be beat. NEVER EVER give up my mom fought a long hard battle some beat and some arent so lucky.

here is my story
Sadly my mother died on Aug 18th from Squamous Cell Carcinoma top of voicebox, stage 4 cancer at the young age of 58.
In Feb 07 she was diagnosed with T2N2CMo stage IV cancer went through extensive radiation she was severly burned after 6 wks of treatments and we had to stop she ended up in hospital with a infection/rash 2nd degree burns. My mom went from weighing 160 down to 80lbs in less then a yr. She was always so sad at how she looked especially near the end. On oct 07 she had major surgery bilateral neck dissection with partial larnygectomy. She had tarche tube for about 2-3 months then. That was absolutely horrible i dont wish that surgey on anyone. The gtube feedings for 11months, she was able to eat by mouth for i think 2 months out of that time frame and it was the best thing for her at the time. The dry mouth and the sores, the 10 differnt medicines all got to be too much for her in the end.

Mom was so worried about losing her voicebox that they told her they would do everything to save it. Well they only took out the top and said they were positive they got all the cancer after removing ALL lympth nodes. (i swear they should have removed it all and it never would of came back) Well in Jan 08 cancer came back and had metasisided to both lungs NSCLC. They were going to keep an eye because it was to soon to do treatments and she wasnt able to have anymore raditation to much scar tissue and she wasnt healed yet form surgery. so in April 08 we tried taxotere chemo was having hard time breathing had to put trache tube back in (the edema(swelling) of her face got to be so bad at days that she couldnt even open her eyes she looked like elephant woman. in June 08 pet showed chemo wasnt working stop all treatments. She was a fighter and tried really hard for me and my sister to survive and beat this.

My mom went through alot in just that short time It was alot of hospital stays back and forth doctors numerous treatments but I was always there with her right till the last morning.

May God bless you all during this terrible time and may he find you peace and security throughout your ordeal and fight.. I will say prayers for you ,

Posts: 4
Joined: Mar 2009

Thank You Tracy for your hope and your story. I know my Sister can get through this. I am going to do all I can to support and help her. Thank you also for your prayers...My Best to You, Jeff

soccerfreaks's picture
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

Jeff, there are a host of inspirational folks on this site, and reading the board here will enforce that for you, if you are patient enough.

In the meantime, I am an SCC survivor of tongue and neck cancer, as of the first of September, 2005. I was a stage 3 survivor when they got to it, and I am now NED (no evidence of disease), here in March of 2009, although I will admit to a couple of hard knocks along the way.

Perhaps more importantly, in your sister's case, I play golf with a guy on a regular basis who had, not surgery, but chemo and radiation for his vocal chord cancer, and this was at least six years ago, because it pre-dates my own first bout with cancer by quite some time. He was about your sister's age at the time and he was strong and healthy and beating me on the golf course (a rather easy thing to do, but still).

I am not so sure about some of what YOU say your sister says about what the DOCTORS say. It sounds as though, perhaps, as in my case, they did the surgery and now want to do chemo and radiation to assure that they get all of the 'stray's'.

It may also be that they simply could not get all of the cancer, although in that location I would be perplexed...except for the desire to save the chords.

Riding from one hole to another one time, my friend advised that he would rather die than let them take his vocal chords. Pre-cancerous me insisted that this was totally out of character for him, that his vocal chords were not necessary to live a quality life.

A lot has happened to me since then, but I stick by that.

I once worked with a guy in his 60s, in the COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE INDUSTRY where you HAVE TO BE ABLE TO TALK who had one of those voice gadgets, and all that it did was make him more memorable, more distinctive, and more courageous, in the eyes of all he dealt with.

Best wishes to your sister and her family, with special kudos to her caring brother!

Take care,


Posts: 4
Joined: Mar 2009

Hi Soccer:

Thanks for the inspirational story, and also congratulations on your NED status. Just got off the phone with my Sister and she is so strong. I know she is going to get through this. And you are right, they got the tumor out
and are now going to attack the site of the cancer with chemo and radiation. I have been on the internet a lot in the past couple of days and have heard story after story of people with even more advance stage cancers who survive, so we are very hopeful.

Thanks again for sharing,
My Best to you

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