On November 30, 2010, dad went to the dentist because of some swelling in his jaw that he thought was caused by a tooth problem. From there he was referred to an orthodontic surgeon, who discovered swelling in his tonsil. After multiple scans, tests, and biopsies, he was diagnosed December 30, 2010, with squamous cell carcinoma. Since his diagnosis, he has met with a variety of doctors including a specialist in Seattle and those at the Tri-Cities Cancer Center.
The best route of treatment will be a combination of chemotherapy and radiation. To avoid future complications with his jaw, he had to have six teeth pulled last week, as well as feeding tubes placed and a port into his neck for chemotherapy. He will begin chemo and radiation after his mouth is fully healed from is oral surgery, which is hopefully very soon! The chemotherapy drug will be cisplatin, which is the most aggressive drug used for head and neck cancers. Treatment will begin with three all-day sessions of chemo and seven weeks (five days per week) of radiation treatments. Approximately three weeks after these initial rounds, another cat scan and pet scan will be done to assess the results.
His next appointment is Thursday, January 27th, with Dr. R* to set a date for radiation to begin.