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Tonsil cancer, spread to lymph nodes, throat, lungs and other organs not affected, no radiation, surgery preferred. Life expectancy ?

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Practicing since : 2002
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i was diagnosed with tonsil cancer with mets to the left lymph node and several places in the throat; lungs and other organs appear to be clear. I do not want to undergo the radical surgery and radiation the side effects are so devastating. How long would a person expect to live? is there any less invasive and debilitating treatment that might be helpful?
Posted Tue, 1 May 2012 in Cancer
Answered by Dr. Robert Galamaga 1 hour later
Hello and thank you for submitting your question.

I completely understand your frustration and hesitation to consider radiation treatment and chemotherapy in the setting of your reent diagnosis of cancer.

I want to reassure you at the same time, however, that this can be approached with curative intent. New treatments and more advanced radiation techniques have really made a great impact on treating cancer of the tonsil or throat.

Yes - this treatment is challenging to tolerate BUT I have had many patients who went through it and now enjoy a complete remission of the cancer with no evidence of disease. I am sure you can approach this in the same way if you are willing to consider it.

In the absence of treatment this cancer can grow progressively and sometimes within 18 months lead to death due to invasion of local structures or infections.

The surgery is not a minor one but again surgeons are better and better at these types of things as we continue to advance the field of oncosurgery.

I thank you again for the query and I hope you will consider the possible benefit of treatment as I am confident that it could significantly improve the quality and quantity of your life. I hope this response proves to be helpful for you and if you have any additional concerns I am here for you.


Dr. Galamaga
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