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Please help?

Teacher Jon
Posts: 2
Joined: Oct 2009

Hi Guys,

I have been diagnosed with T3 N2 base of the tongue cancer and what's worrying me just before i start treatment on 7th November, my lymph node has swelled to 6cm and is now aching mainly at night i take tyronol for it, in a few months and the MRI scan reveals the other side is showing signs of swelling but no noticeable yet.

Did any one have a node of 6cm and do you think it is to far gone to help me yet or do I stand a good chance of 5 year survival the doctor said when it was 3cm about 6 weeks ago I have 70% chance but its a fast growing cancer even though he said the primary in my BOT is mild to mod.

any help will be wonderful to put my mind at rest.

regards Teacher JON

Posts: 1
Joined: Oct 2009

John, at the risk of being too general, stop looking at survival rates and just start on the road to recovery! Remember, Lance Armstrong's Pet scan "Lit Up" the scan, His body was full of cancer to include his brain.
Since then he has won how many Tours? 5 or 6
Prayers are with you.


soccerfreaks's picture
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

It is common, Jon, to be concerned about survival rates. Please consider, however, that these are based on previous history and this is problematic for at least two reasons.

The first of these is that you are not the mean, the median, the average. Someone has to be in the middle, someone is at the bottom, and someone is at the top, and the rest of us are somewhere along the curve. Our attitudes, our treatments, and the nature of our particular cancer all play a role in where we end up on that curve.

The second is that the statistics are not, cannot, be based on present figures, but on the past, and the past is less and less relevant as each day goes by, as each day provides new resources to our doctors and to ourselves. So, as Mike advises, ignore the stats and concentrate on what YOU need to do to elevate your own chances of survival.

I am a head/neck cancer survivor, went through surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. Eventually, I also went through surgery for lung cancer (a lobectomy) and additional chemotherapy. All of this between September of 05 and January of 08. I am still here. I am NED (No Evidence of Disease) because I chose, emphasis on "I", an aggressive plan to eliminate the cancer.

Explore your options. Examine the possibility of surgery to extract the cancer from tongue and lymph nodes (I did). If unhappy with the options provided, seek a second opinion: this is not about what to choose from a menu, but about your very existence, and you should be comfortable with how it is being handled.

Best wishes to you and your family and loved ones.

Take care,


ratface's picture
Posts: 1319
Joined: Aug 2009

Hello and welcome. First soccor freaks is right about stats. The ACS stats are from 1982. If you read a book about cancer more than two years old, its out of date. I recently met a man who will be celebrating BOT survival for ten years.

Some quick thoughts, you don't sound comfortable with your doctor. If not, now is the time to seek someone at a major cancer center.

You mention MRI, swelling of one lymph node, and possible activity on the other side? You need a PET scan now , today, that can tell definitively if the other side is lighting up.

The main thing with this cancer is location, if its between the eyes and the collorbone its localized and radiation can shrink it so that surgery is more manageble. This is a very fearful time, do you have anyone who can go to the doctor with you? Ask a million questions and you should at this point be talking to an Oncologist not an ENT. Ideally you should be talking to an ONCO person, chemo person, ENT, and dentist. You will fell better once you begin throwing something at it. Ready, aim, fire!

pk's picture
Posts: 192
Joined: Aug 2009

My husband was diagnosed in late July with base of tongue(left side) cancer - stage 3 and it also involved a lymph node. He has completed his radiation and Erbitux treatments and is 4 weeks out. He will have another PET scan the first part of Jan. We are of course hoping that it is clean. If not, his ENT will do surgery to remove any remaining cancer cells. But we are not thinking along those lines. He survived the radiation and chemo, had a rought 2 weeks post radiation/chemo and now is trying very hard to incorporate food into his daily routine. You can do this. It's tough, but you will make it thru. Keep posting and asking questions. The people on this site are amazing folks and all survivors.

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