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Tongue Cancer Returns - Male / Age 52 - Treatment options?

hjain's picture
Posts: 4
Joined: Nov 2012

My dad is currently 52 years old and two years ago he was diagnosed with small N1M10 on his left side of tongue (Stage 1 – squamous cell carcinoma). At that point he was treated with Radiation (33 times - tongue and neck area). Since then he has been in recovery stage, however he has always had discomfort in his tongue. At first we thought it was part of recovery process, but the ulcer didn’t heal and it was coming on the right side of his tongue. We showed few doctors and everyone suggested to wait and let it recover. However, as time passed by his discomfort increased and there was no sign of healing. We decided to get other options and tests done. Recently he did MRI and showed to other doctors – now he has been diagnosed with cancer again. This is a Primary second occurrence on the right side of his tongue and touching the mantle.

He is going to get his PET scan tomorrow to determine the extent of his cancer. We are getting multiple opinions from doctors for correct steps of treatment. Some are suggesting surgery + chemo and some are simply suggesting chemo. My dad in general is a strong will man and is overall in good health – apart from his serious discomfort in tongue/mouth. He has strong determination and fighting spirit.

I am wondering if people here with similar experience can suggest best path forward to determine the best treatment for him? Advantages / Disadvantages of Surgery + Chemo vs only Chemo or chemo before and / or after surgery?. I will update on his PET scan report as soon as I get them. But meanwhile, I would appreciate if you can share your experiences in similar scenarios and things to consider as we go along in this process.

I understand that determining the extent / stage of cancer is important before jumping to treatment options. I will post the results of PET scan as soon as we have them.

Thanks in advance and really appreciate your help.


D Lewis's picture
D Lewis
Posts: 1576
Joined: Jan 2010

No matter what the PET-CT results, get a second opinion from a major cancer center.


phrannie51's picture
Posts: 4673
Joined: Mar 2012

I know you can't determine the exact treatment until they know precisely what they are dealing with....but I can tell you this...Your dad is only 52, and as you said has a fighting and determined will...I'd be hitting it with everything there is...surgery and chemo. I'd want to hit it hard with all that is available to up my chances of never having to face the beast again. That's just me, tho...

Trusting your Dr's is a big part of this...and of course, your dad's thoughts are a big part.

This is just my layman's point of view from having been thru radiation and chemo...and a giant hope that they hit my cancer hard enough that it will never return.


longtermsurvivor's picture
Posts: 1845
Joined: Mar 2010

in these treatments. Chemo alone is palliative. It has no chance of curing him, only prolonging his life. Not saying this is wrong, it depends on what the situation is after a full workup. i have personally been through the process three times. You can read my story on my bio. I was 45 the first time, and still ot 60 today. I have chosen very aggressive treatments because my circumstances indicated reasonable chances of cure. If I get a reoccurance this time, I will have to consider things as a new situation, balancing cure expectancies against quality of life issues. Please keep posting. As another poster has said, it will help you and us when there is enough workup done to knowmthe extent of the problem.

Best to you and your dad.


hwt's picture
Posts: 2330
Joined: Jun 2012

Sorry to hear of your Dad's new primary. He is young...be aggressive!

CivilMatt's picture
Posts: 4320
Joined: May 2012

Hi hjain,

Glad you found this site. Your Dad is very young and if he can make it through radiation can most likely handle chemo and surgery (I hope). If the doctors agree, I say throw everything you got at this monster, you want to stomp it out for good.



hjain's picture
Posts: 4
Joined: Nov 2012

Thank you for all the support and encouragement. My dad went for his PET scan today, we will get the results on Monday. Will keep you guys posted.

Meanwhile, one of the doctors suggested a PUNCH Biopsy for him. I am curious to know if anyone has had any experience in it? As during our consulting some doctors said that having a biopsy can increase the risk of spread if not controlled properly ... I want to know what are some things to consider when choosing PUNCH biopsy?

longtermsurvivor's picture
Posts: 1845
Joined: Mar 2010

from your first post that he already had a tissue diagnosis of cancer this time. If not, then dont put the cart ahead of the horse. Before any lengthy discussion of treatment options, this is mandatory. If he has not had a biopsy, then one needs done, and a punch biopsy is a reasonable endeavor. mThere is not a shred of evidence that punch biopsies cause cancer spread, so if someone has told you that, they are frankly, just blowing smoke. You can very reasonably go that direction. If he already has a tissue diagnosis, then a biopsy of any sort is not necessary.


Pam M's picture
Pam M
Posts: 2196
Joined: Nov 2009

Sorry your team is having to go another round with cancer; hoping your dad does well.

I am surprised that at least one of his docs is recommending chemo only. I would think that the LEAST they'd want is surgery or surgery plus chemo. My doc told me that the chemo I got was to beat the cancer down, not kill it.

hjain's picture
Posts: 4
Joined: Nov 2012

So the PET Scan came positive. The next step for doctors is to do a biopsy before going into a surgery. However, at the same time they are preparing his surgery plan. Based on the PET scan they said the spread is not in lot of areas but is concentrated in the mouth - hence surgery is an option.

Meanwhile they mentioned about some testing that is done is US and UK, that helps determine what type or Chemo or Oral Medication is best for the patient. My family in India has asked me to find out more about it... I have requested more details from the Doctor but does anyone about this?

On the side note, my dad is in a lot of pain due to cancer has resulted in dislocation of his jaws...He is currently taking Morphine as a Pain Killer.

blackswampboy's picture
Posts: 341
Joined: Jul 2012

sorry to hear the PET scan results and that he's in pain.
although being concentrated in his mouth would seemingly be the good news.

only kind of additional testing done in US/UK that I can think of would be for HPV--which to my limited understanding might not change the treatment. but if the cancer is HPV-associated (rather than smoking or other cause) it could improve his prognosis.

hjain's picture
Posts: 4
Joined: Nov 2012

My dad just went through first cycle of Chemo (TPF and Erbitrax) ... 3 days consecutive

now he is having following difficulties:
- diarrhea (with some blood)
- cramps in stomach
- pain in legs

he feels like going to washroom but it doesn't come and that is causing him lot of difficulties with cramps in stomach.

Posts: 2
Joined: Nov 2012

I'm very sorry to hear this. I whole heartedly agree with Deb on gettng an opinion from a major cancer center! My Tongue Cancer (also Squamous Cell Carcinoma) was stage IV when discovered on the 3rd biopsy. It's been over 7 years! (See my story on another post.) Good luck and keep those hopes ups! This is NOT a death sentence!

Personally, I would not even take Radiation or Chemo if I had it to do over. I have done extenssive research in the past six years.

There are LOTS of natural healings for cancer out there that doctors don't even know about, because that is not their field.

So, this second time around for your Dad, do your research. One site I recomend is: http://www.gethealthyagain.com/. I highly recommend Mr. Harrison and any product he recommends. Some strategies are the same as I have researched in many places:
*Introduce more Oxygen to the cells. (Mr. Harrison explains many ways to do this.) Cancer cells die in the presence of Oxygen!
*Balance the pH in your body. Cancer cannot live in an alkaline state.

One product of his that I have known to work great is Liquid Zeolite. It has been known to completely dissolve malignant tumors within 2 - 4 weeks of use!

Balancing the pH in your body, I feel is very important, not only to cancer patients, but for everyone! A product I recently heard about is Kangen Water. It is actualy a filter that produces alkaline water. One nurse was known to cure some cancer patients on their deathbed using this water. If you can locate a rep in your area, they are great people and will furnish you free water until you an afford to buy a fulter. I was amazed at all of the benefits.
Enough said, just do your homework! There's lots of help, lots of methods!

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