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Squamous cell carcinoma with unknown primary

Posts: 6
Joined: Aug 2009

Hi all, not sure if any of you have advice with my situation. I have a boyfriend whom has been currently diagnosed with Squamous cell Carcinoma with unknown primary, he is only 38 yrs old. He has cancer, stage 4a, in both lypmh nodes in his neck, hasn't started chemo yet. They are going to do a biopsy this week on his lymph node to further try to figure out where the cancer originated. He or I have yet to figure out how to deal with this recent diagnosis. He was active duty and served as a first responder to 911 and served active duty in Afghanistan. I guess I'm looking for advice on how to help him, he has been on a roller coaster. I received advice to look into CSN for benefits for first responders as the local VA believes his cancer is from being stationed down there for over a year and there within the first 24 hours.....I'm not in the military and have known him long enough to know, the first thing that is happening is he thinks the worst and is pushing those close...away.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Posts: 37
Joined: Apr 2008

Hi Texxlisa,

I'm also a vet and a Survivor of stage 4a SCC. My primary was in my right tonsil. I'm a Vietnam veteran and subsequently I'm considerably older than your boyfriend. I have a son two years older than your boyfriend.

Please thank your boyfriend for me for his service to his country.

You might consider looking on the head and neck cancer discussion board as well. Lots of people there who have been through the very same thing that your boyfriend is currently facing.

Going to tell you right up front that your job as a Caregiver is no cakewalk either. The emotional rollcoaster that you are about to jump on is probably tougher than going through any cancer treatment. God Bless you for being there for your boyfriend.

There is also a discussion board for Caregivers. I'm sure that you'll find a great deal of support and encouragement there as well.

Caregivers are an absolutely blessing to those that have to go through treatment. Remember to take really good care of yourself. Eat right and get adequate rest. You will need to take breaks from your job as a Caregiver. If you get burned out your not going to be much help to your boyfriend. When you get an opportunity to go out with your friends, do it. Your not abandoning him. Your taking a well deserved break. View it as an opportunity to recharge your batteries.

You'll both survive this. As Regina Brett has said, "You can get through anything if you stay put in today".

Wishing you both nothing but the best.

Take care,


Posts: 6
Joined: Aug 2009

Hi Jim,

Thank you, they found the primary, it's in his tongue and most probably caused from HPV....I will join the other discussion boards for supporters.He wants to fight this alone and let me 'Live my life"...move on.I'm crushed, as we have been together for 2 years. This is the worst emotional roller coaster of my life. I know I have to respect his wishes, but I still want to be there for him. Did you feel the need to push those close away when you were first diagnosed?

Thank you,


Posts: 37
Joined: Apr 2008

Hi Texxlisa,

I'm sorry that I didn't get back to you before today. It was a busy three-day weekend.

Please tell your boyfriend for me, that the journey he is about to embark upon is absolutely no place to go by yourself. As an experienced combat veteran he may think that he can go it alone. But in this battle, its oh so important to be surrounded by those who love you.

He can beat this demon if he choses to do so. But it's so much easier when you have the support of your loved ones. He's fighting a real nasty enemy. Love and understanding are the cornerstones to kick the crap out of this enemy. I'm sure that he doesn't want to see you get hurt by cancer. He doesn't realize that it has already effected your life. He needs to consider the fact that you are willing to help him fight. If it wouldn't have been for my loved ones, I don't know that I could have beat cancer by myself.

He is indeed a very lucky young man to have someone so special in his life. I'm hoping that he realizes how important you are to him and how important your love will be to him to get through this battle.

I'm hoping that your boyfriend realizes how much you love him and just how benefical your love and support can be in this fight for his life.

May God Bless you Both!!!


jeepman's picture
Posts: 109
Joined: Apr 2011


I agree with Jim, you really need to check out the head and neck forum. Lots of really good folks there and loads of "tricks of the trade" from the veterans that have been battling this demon. It is beatable without help, but WHY would a guy go through this hell alone?

I am truly blessed to have my wife of 20 years to be my caregiver, and I give this advice as a guy that has not yet gotten to the nastiest parts of treatment. I have fully educated myself and my wife has done her own research as well. We know the enemy that we are up against and what it is going to take to beat it.

He probably just can't believe it is happening to him. I know I stayed in "the fog" for at least the first month, post diagnosis.

I didn't push anyone away when I was diagnosed, I drew close to all and buckled down for treatment. Education here is key.

God bless you for being there and god bless him for his service to this great country and his speedy recovery from treatment.

Blessings and prayer to you both,


Posts: 1
Joined: Mar 2010

hi, i've had the sqamos cell carcenoma and needed 6 wks of radiation, no cemo; last week was twice a day. With amiprostine drip for one hour before radiation

UNBEARABLE's picture
Posts: 23
Joined: Aug 2010

My husband was a 20 yr Marine also serving in Afghanistan and top hospitals attributed to the same. It's a tough road, especially for a veteran and for a caregiver. Act quickly...don't wait or rely on VA. Go to the top hospital in your area. There are many survivors and there are many that aren't so lucky, like my husband. My husband died at 39 and had mets in liver and bones. Don't let him push you away. You will find the answers and the strength, that I know from experience. Many, many prayers....if you need anything, don't hesitate.

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