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Pre Existing condition...how fast do SCC tumors grow

Crazymom's picture
Posts: 339
Joined: Nov 2011


I was diagnosd in Dec 2011 with SCC tonsil cancer HPV+ left tonsil and 2 left lymph nodes. I have had 6 weeks of Chemo and am doing really well. I will start radiation Feb 13. Anyway, i have been paid short term disability and the long term disability (which I started in Jan 2011) should start to pay in Mar 2012. I had no symptoms until Oct 2011 and the primary was 2.6 cm. Does anyone know how quickly these grow. Do you think it was already in my body at 1/1/2011 and I just had no symptoms until Oct 2011? I have no idea how fast these grow...

SASH's picture
Posts: 400
Joined: Apr 2006

I don't know exactly, but I know I was experiencing some swallowing issues starting in late May and by the time I was diagnosed in September, I was Stage IV.

longtermsurvivor's picture
Posts: 1845
Joined: Mar 2010

Growth rate varies tremendously. I had a negative CT scan in June, and a 3 plus centimeter cancer in September. If that helps you.

Posts: 27
Joined: Aug 2011

hi Crazymom, My girlfriend,Natalie had head MRI last mid April for a medical condition not related to cancer. She then was admitted to the hospital in late June when she felt numbness on one side of her face. They did another head MRI and discovered a large mass in the nasopharynx area. The biopsy came back as nasopharyngeal carcinoma stage 4. so the mass did not show up from the first MRI done in April. Two months later, the MRI shows a large mass and she was diagnosed with stage 4 because the mass was 7cm and then by the time she was into her 2nd week of radiation treatment the mass was 9cm. So in her case, it was super aggressive. To this date we are still not sure why the first MRI did not see anything. Perhaps they were not looking for cancer since the MRI was for another medical condition or maybe the cancer cells were too small to be seen by MRI.

Skiffin16's picture
Posts: 8286
Joined: Sep 2009

I'm sure you will probably get as many different answers as different people that answer....

For me, I had a slight irritation in the throat for about a month and a half. I initially was seeing my GP whom prescribed meds twice, neither did any good so he set me up to see an ENT....

During the week or so before seeing the ENT I had a secondary spot pop out in a lymphnode on the same side as my Tonsil (which eventually was diagnosed as the primary location.


Crazymom's picture
Posts: 339
Joined: Nov 2011

My health insurance for the cancer is covering everything healthwise. This is for the long term disability which I will probably not need but a month or so of. If they do not pay it, then I am going to tell them and immediately turn over to an attorney. I am not going to waste my time arguing with them and my next door neighbor at my last home is an attorney who handles this kind of thing. He will take it on a percentage basis so I am out no cash...just smaller check later on. I think they are going to have to pay it. They have not decided yet.

longtermsurvivor's picture
Posts: 1845
Joined: Mar 2010

for them to assert this was preexisting. they cannot prove it was preexisting, and I completely agree with what you just said. Screw em. If they dont come around PDQ, sic your attorney on them. That's what I had to do. We got all the way through a settlement conference within a week of going to trial before they settled, but they did settle.

Sooner79's picture
Posts: 29
Joined: Jan 2012

I went from no tumor to golf ball sized hanging from a pod at the base of my tongue (and down my throat) in right at three months, so it appears the consensus is that most of our tumors grew very quickly.

Bigfuzzydoug's picture
Posts: 154
Joined: Jul 2010

In early June of 2010 I woke up one morning to feeling like a popcorn kernel was stuck in my throat. I looked on the Internet and figured it was either a piece of food or stress. I gave it two days. If it wasn't gone by then, I would go see my ENT. After two days, I still felt it and saw the doc 2 days later. When he scoped me he found a small cyst. Didn't think it was cancer, but said it would have to come out through laryngoscopy as it wouldn't go away on it's own. It was about 8mm in size.

The surgery was 4 weeks later on July 6th and in about four weeks it had grown to 4.5cm. 600% growth in only four weeks! That caused concern and sure enough the biopsy showed it was malignant SCC two days later.

One of my Oncologists later told me, "4-6 weeks. That's the difference between T2M0N0 and probably a T4M1N-several. If you had waited 4-6 weeks to get it checked out, you would've been looking at a mush bigger fight and struggle. The key is YOU DIDN'T WAIT TO GET IT CHECKED OUT."

Greend's picture
Posts: 678
Joined: Feb 2010

All I know is doctors told me tonsil cance can be cured but it is an aggressive growth cancer and from the lymph nodes in my neck it would have probably gone to the brain.

I had no problems going from short term to long term disability and don't think you should. Be prepared (unless the same company has both STD and LTD in which case the transition could be transparent to you) to send in names and addresses of all doctors and I gave all of mine a heads-up that they would be requesting my records.

Good luck.

Crazymom's picture
Posts: 339
Joined: Nov 2011

I briefly mentioned it to one of the nurses (Radiology doctor was busy).. She looked at me and said months not years....She said that she would be surprised if I did not get it.


Posts: 38
Joined: Jan 2012

None of the doctors I saw believed that I had a lump on my neck for 5 years. At least 12 months before my dx a masseur noticed it and I had told him I had had it years also. Primary site tonsil then spread to 3 nodes so who knows how long I had the tonsil cancer before it spread to the lymph nodes.
I am absolutely sure about having a lump in my neck even if they don't believe me. Perhaps it was something else but it was mysteriously gone after they took the cancer out of my neck so...
Well-differentiated they called it and slow-growing. Maybe my body was fighting it? It certainly never got smaller but then it always seemed to me to be the same size.
As long as my neck stays like my gravy, lump-free, from now on I will be happy!

Andy13460's picture
Posts: 100
Joined: Mar 2017

Hi I started with a sore throat end of August 2016, visited a G.P. 1 st week in November. G.P. finally sent a referral letter to an ENT consultant 12th Jan 2017. I got to see the consultant 28th February 2017; he felt around my tongue and said there and then there was a growth inside my tongue at the base right hand side. 6th March 2017 head & neck MRI scan; CT scans head, chest, abdomen & pelvis. 13th March 2017 In for Results 2.2cm tumour with what looks to be 1 lymph node so it came up as T2:N1:M0 (CT chest, abdomen & pelvis nothing showing up) He couldn’t do the biopsy to far back so he referred me to a colleague who could, 1st appointment 27th March2017 with this consultant and biopsy arranged for 29th April under a general anaesthetic. Results in for the biopsy 7th April 2017 SCC HPV+, to far back for surgery so it will be 3 Cisplatin day 1, 22 & 44 with 7 weeks IMRT radiation. Back to the present time I see a radiation oncologist 25th April and treatment hopefully will start around the 15th of May. I think the strange thing is I’m 241 days from first symptoms and it doesn’t feel any different than it did then.

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