Arlene's Cancer Blog
Fred sent you a hug.
Hi Arlene I am so glad you are asking question and finding everything you need to know. Getting all the opinions possible is so importand to make your decesion. For me, being stage 4 cancer, I wanted the surgery, treatment options that had the best chance of getting rid of the cancer in me. I was lucky to have the option of surgery first, treatment second, because the tumor was small enought to remove with the area around, without having to shrink it first. Also I consider myself lucky because having surgery first meant I could have the saliva gland transfer trial done. Which made it easier to protect my submandibular saliva gland from the radiation, which means in the end I do have more saliva then people who have not had it done. All in all I found the radiation the worse part of my ordeal, I had very little pain with my surgery, I still do have numbness though. I was well enough to start treatment 6 weeks later. We all have to make the decisions for ourselves and hope it was the right one. There is no easy way out with Tonsil Cancer or any cancer. Just keep in mind that the surgery/treatment, treatment/surgery, or treatment by itself, are the options. When asking doctors about these it can get confusing, so ask the doctor which of these options could give you the closest thing to a guarentee, that you wil be cancer free after finishing them. My hopes and prayers are with you Val PS I do know of 4 people who wanted just radiation/chemo with no surgery for tonsil cancer, they all had CAT/PET scans after and their were still hot spots, they all ended up having some surgery after to get their margins clear. There is no easy way and no easy choice, I do hope you make the best choice for you. I do live in Canada and the insurance system we have does cover all the options, which makes it easier for me to make a choice.Myt prayers are with you.
I originlly had radiation and chemo, 7 weeks of radiation 5 times a week and 3 chemo. After 6 months my petscans were clear but 6 months after that it showed the cancer was back. The doctors say this is rare so I am just one of the unlucky ones. Because I had already had so much radiation surgery was my only option. I had surgery this past Oct at Johns Hopkins with Dr.Christine Gourin. I suggest you get a second opinion from her if you can, she is great. The radiation does cause some complications if you subsequently have to get surgery. In hind site knowing what I do now I would have had the surgery first but that is only becuae it returned. It does sound like you have a good doctor with him telling you one is not necessarily better then the other. Everyone's case is different. I do know 2 people who only had radiation and chemo and they are both doing great with no signs of recurrence for 1 and 3 years.
Hi there I had tonsil cancer may 2009 decided to do the surgery, i felt I wanted to get free of the cancer and then do radiation and had the option of having chemo, cisplatin or erbitux which is a infusion that works as a receptor and is suppose to help radiation work more effectively. I am. 15 months out from treatment and so far so good. Email anytime you have questions