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On September 15, Brad was seen for left sided neck pain and he was immediately referred to an ENT specialist the following day. On 09/16/16. he had a biopsy of a left neck mass and was scheduled for a CT scan of the neck on 9/19. On September 21, 2016, we met with the ENT doctor to get the results of the biopsy and CT Scan. The doctor informed us that it was indeed squamous cell carcinoma. He underwent additional biopsies of the oral cavity and was scheduled for a scope of esophagus, larynx and upper air way. A couple of biopsies were done of his tongue during the scope which fortunately were negative. He was also scheduled for a CT scan of the Chest, Abdomen and Pelvis for staging purposes (to see if it had spread to distant parts of the body).
On September 27, Brad had the CT scan of his Chest, Abdomen and Pelvis. On 09/30, we returned to see the ENT doctor to go over the procedures that had been performed and staging results. At this visit, the doctor told us that it did not appear that the cancer had spread to any distant parts of the body, but said that his cancer was considered to be stage IV squamous cell carcinoma of the buccal mucosa with metastasis to the lymph nodes of the neck. We were also told that there were some findings on the CT scan that would need to be followed up on. The CT showed a nodule of the lung and it was recommended that that just be followed every six months to ensure stability. There were also some findings in the abdomen near the cecum/appendix area. Brad was scheduled for surgery.
On October 6, Brad underwent surgery to remove the tumor from his left buccal mucosa and neck mass. The tumor in his mouth was able to be removed completely from his mouth but unfortunately the neck mass had grown so significantly that they were unable to remove the cancer from his neck. The tumor had managed to wrap itself around the jugular vein and carotid artery. It also involved muscles, nerves and many of the lymph nodes in his neck.
On October 11, Brad was admitted to the hospital for a pulmonary embolism in his left lung. He is now on blood thinning medications for that.
On October 18, Brad had three teeth pulled due to decay. It was recommended that they be pulled prior to radiation treatment as radiation can cause healing issues. His treatment has been on hold since his tooth extraction in hopes of avoiding potential problems with his bone from radiation.
On October 20, Brad had a PET scan.
On October 25, Brad went to surgery to have a feeding tube placed and the surgeon agreed to take a peek in the appendix area to try to determine what was going on there and possible appendectomy. After surgery, the surgeon informed us that the appendix was very dilated and that there were some deposits in the area and that she did a biopsy and would be presenting her findings to the tumor board for further recommendations.
On November 2, we met with Brad's oncology doctor who went over the PET scan with us. He said that this showed the cancer in his neck. It also showed a lung nodule but at this time this nodule is not positive for cancer. The doctor did say that it may very well be benign but it could just be that it is too small to show up as cancer at this time so it will be followed every six months to monitor for changes. His appendix and cecum showed up as enlarged but did not show up as being positive for cancer, however, he told us that the surgeon discussed with him what she saw during the exploratory surgery of the appendix and that there appeared to be metastatic findings in the region of the appendix. He informed us that there was a focus of hypermetabolic activity in the small intestine. It is felt that it most like represents a carcinoid tumor which is a very slow growing cancer. Since it is slow growing and not 100% confirmed to be cancerous, all of the doctors feel it is best to focus on his cancer of the head and neck since it is known cancer and advanced. It was recommended by his oral surgeon to wait two more weeks in hopes that his tooth extraction site could completely heal but the oral surgeon said that if his cancer doctors felt we needed to go ahead with treatment to do so. So with that, we are going to begin treatment on 11/21 which will consist of 6 weeks of chemo and 7 weeks of radiation with the intent to cure. After treatment he will be monitored regularly. When he has recuperated from this treatment, we will be meeting with the doctors again to most likely have additional surgery to remove the potential cancer from the small intestine and appendix/cecum. .
We are scheduled for a neck and chest CT to check on the status of his cancer and to determine whether or not any changes need to be made to his radiation regimen. Please pray that the cancer has not progressed any further!
Please continue to pray for a successful treatment course and a full speedy recovery!