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Primary Head and Neck Cancer that has spread to the lungs

Kassandra_818's picture
Posts: 6
Joined: Aug 2017

Hi there- my name is Kassandra and my father was diagnosed with stage four Head and Neck Cancer in May 2016. He underwent 42 radiation treatments while also having chemotherapy with Cisplatin. We were told in October 2016 that he was cancer free, but back in April of this year he started experiencing symptoms again and it was confirmed in July that his cancer had spread to both of his lungs and was suspected to be back in his throat due to the loss of his speech once again. It was never confirmed that it is back in his lungs but his doctors felt that it was unnecessary to biopsy due to the immunotherapy being able to treat both if it had in fact recurred. We were told that he is "terminal," but he decided to undergo immunotherapy with Opdivo. He hasn't had any horrible side effects with this treatment- but we are only about halfway through with his treatment so far. His treatment last year almost killed him- he dropped to 118 pounds, lost most of his hearing, his ability to eat, and was not able to talk due to his radiation. He currently has a port and a permanant feeding tube and is not able to take anything by mouth. I am just wondering about his prognosis, I understand that secondary lung cancer isn't curable in most cases but he has very little disease in his lungs as of yet- and it is slow growing. He only has two small nodules- one in each lung. He is currently in a very contentious divorce with the mother of his fourth daughter that has been very slow in proceedings but he seems too stressed to want to proceed. I want my father to be divorced before-and if, he passes away. His second wife cheated and abandoned him while he was doing his first round of treatment and she doesn't deserve to be labeled a widow nor all of his assets. I have moved home from college and only work part time to help with his care and treatments. This might sound selfish- I would much rather my father live a long and healthy life than for me to get any of his assets- but I would like for my sisters and I to have a future in the event of his death. I am 19, the oldest of four girls, one with a disability. I would like to ensure that my sisters and I are able to persue secondary education and that my sister with a disability will have enough for her care. I don't look forward to the upcoming legal battle with his wife and more info on his prognosis and life expectancy would give me some peace of mind possibly. If you have any similiar stories involving head and neck cancer pertaining to yourself or a loved one- please share! I would love to meet some fellow individuals in the same boat as my family. Thank you!

Posts: 137
Joined: Jul 2017

Kassandra, sorry you are going through this.  Of course, your primary concern is your dad's well-being, and you don't want to stress him.  But it is his responsibility to make sure his affairs are in order so that his estate will be distributed as he chooses.  He needs to work with a lawyer to get his estate and property put in a living trust, and that his Will and divorce decree be very specific about who gets what, and that all documents are filed with the state.  Someone has to be given medical power of attorney for him, and someone needs to have general power of attorney if he becomes incapacitated and can't handle his own affairs.  You also want to make sure that someone you all totally trust be named the Executor of the Estate.  Your state law will be very specific about what his wife/ex-wife can inherit.  I am not an attorney, but what I experienced when my stepdad died was that the executor of the estate did pretty much as she pleased, and it would have cost so much to go to court that it wasn't worth the financial or emotional hassle.  While he was alive he had put some money in a separate account for each daughter where only he and that daughter were signers on the account set up specifically for her.  That was the only share of the estate that I received, since the executor took the rest even though I had a copy of the Will naming me as 50% recipient of the entire estate.  The peace of mind I got from forgiving the Executor and not fighting was worth far more than any other funds I might have received.  But I wish he had made it less stressful for us all after his death by having his affairs in better order.  Good luck and God bless you, your dad and family.  Don't be embarrassed to discuss this with your dad; you are due that peace of mind.

Posts: 2
Joined: Apr 2010


I had cancer in my right lung upper lobe after having cancer in my left tonsil.

I had surgery to remove my tonsil and 59 lymph nodes in 2011 , 

had 8 weeks of chem and radiation. Two years almost to the day 

a CT/Pet Scan showed 3 tumors in my upper lobe in right lung.

I had 16 weeks of chemo and then surgery to remove the right 

Upper lobe. It has been over 4 1/2 years and I am cancer free today.

Before this in 2007 I had prostate cancer, that was treated with seed implants and has not came back

to as of today. In 2009  I had  a cancer tumor in my bladder that as removed by

a scope surgery.   I had 4 skin cancer surgeries in the last 18 months,

and for now after 8 cancers on May 1, 2017 CT's shows I have no cancer.

May 1, 2017  is my May-Day! I live with one moto, never, never ever 

give up! I am 68 years old, have 18 grandchildren, 2 great grandchildren and I have returned to work part time last year 

after 5 year off. I have said a lot and I hope you it may show you that 

you just need to fight one day at a time, and never give up.

Good Luck with your Dadd.




Kassandra_818's picture
Posts: 6
Joined: Aug 2017

Thank you so much for sharing your story, ClaCla! I have been named an co-executor of his estate, along with my step-grandfather. I was also named a power of attorney for him as well. I might finally get the courage to speak to him about his estate, we were just recently told he must discontinue his treatment with immunotherapy due to medically-induced hepatitus that almost killed him. We are currently looking into clinical trials as his last option of treatment. 

I am sorry that the executor of your stepfather's estate kept you from the assets your father wanted you to have, but I like the way you view the outcome of the situation, you are very positive, I can relate to that. 

Srchief, your story is so inspirational! It gives me hope, and that we are not in denial. Thank you for passing on your amazing strength! 


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