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Enlarged lymph node. Biopsy of throat showing cancer. Surgery, radiation and chemotherapy suggested. Need second opinion

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Oncologist, Surgical
Practicing since : 1986
Answered : 59 Questions
My husband had a biopsy of his throat. Initially last week, he was told that it was very curable. Yesterday he had his firt visit with an Oncologist and was told he was at Stage 4 -- he's only had symptom of enlarged lymph node for 2 months. This info came as a complete surprise since the ENT that ordered the biopsy seemed to believe the cancer wasn't very far along. He was also told that surgery wouldn't be necessary and then changed their treatment plan to include surgery after chemo and radiation. That seems to be a departure from all I have read on the subject of how this is usually treated. Biopsy of node showed no cancer cells, but he was positive for lesions near his tonsils. (CT scan and Biopsy reports included). He's having a PET scan Friday to see if the cancer has spread to the other side of his neck, but CT scan showed nothing that concerned the radiologist from his neck down. They refused to tell us what finding cncer on the opposite side of the neck would mean. Please advise as to how we should best proceed. Our family wonders what other forms of treatment (diet, homeopathic treatment, etc.) could be helpful in addition to radiation, chemo and surgery. Also, should we seek a second opinion? We will go anywhere for treatment and secure any additional monies treatment may cost that is not covered by his insurance.
Posted Mon, 2 Jul 2012 in Colon Cancer
Answered by Dr. K. Harish 2 hours later

Your details do not say anything about the severity of the disease for me to confirm or give reasonable opinion. It may not be appropriate to judge the severity without examining the patient and follow up. However I able to understand the pain and worry that you undergo now.

If I take your doctors facts then it must be a stage 4 disease. You should be aware that cancer can present to the doctor at any time. It need not progress from I to II then III and IV. It can straight away be in stage IV. The duration of symptoms is no indication for stage.

The treatment plans could always change depending on the evaluation and staging reports. I think PET scan could throw more light on the stage of disease. You definitely can seek a second opinion after the reports which would give you confidence in undergoing therapy. You may go to the best cancer centres like MD XXXXXXX Houston or XXXXXXX Kettering, NY. Of course they have the best technology too.

If you desire undergo alternative forms of therapy you may, but always after completing the modern methods of treatment. Frankly diet has not improved the outcomes.

I can assist you further if you have any specific questions.
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