Spotlight on my personal battle with throat cancer; an update.
Did you know that a total of 1,665,540 new cancer cases and 585,720 Cancer Deaths are projected to occur in the United States in 2014?
"Each year, the American Cancer Society estimates the numbers of new cancer cases and deaths that will occur in the United States in the current year and compiles the most recent data on cancer incidence, mortality, and survival. Incidence data were collected by the National Cancer Institute, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries and mortality data were collected by the National Center for Health Statistics. A total of 1,665,540 new cancer cases and 585,720 cancer deaths are projected to occur in the United States in 2014."- read more at the following link from the CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.3322/caac.21208/pdf
According to CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, "Cancer is a major public health problem in the United States and many other parts of the world. One in 4 deaths in the United States is due to cancer." - http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.3322/caac.21208/pdf
I, Tanya Britt, am a throat cancer survivor and I am happy to share that I am in remission. As a writer for examiner.com since 2009, I disclosed my diagnosis in an article last June. At the time I had only recently graduated from Wayne State University in May with a degree in photography and a minor in media arts. I had been suffering for months from what I had assumed was a sinus infection and being told that I had throat cancer was a surreal experience. Cancer diagnosis is very frightening and I was all but certain that it was the end of my life.
I was diagnosed with nasopharyngeal carcinoma which is defined as the following;
Cancer that originates in,"the uppermost region of the pharynx ("throat"), behind the nose where the nasal passages and auditory tubes join the remainder of the upper respiratory tract. NPC occurs in children and adults. NPC differs significantly from other cancers of the head and neck in its occurrence, causes, clinical behavior, and treatment. It is vastly more common in certain regions of East Asia and Africa than elsewhere, with viral, dietary and genetic factors implicated in its causation. It is most common in males." - read more at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nasopharyngeal_carcinoma
I am now cancer -free. On January 2014 I was told the good news by my chemotherapy doctor and I am still elated,
"I did it! I beat cancer!"
After days, weeks and months of what I can only describe as a medically induced living hell, I was very relieved that the cancer tumor that had threatened my life was gone. The days of treatment seemed endless as I voluntarily subjected myself to poisons while those around me wore protective gear and, or, were shielded by radiation protection walls. The medical treatments were destroying my body's good cells along with the bad cells but through my faith I found a way to smile despite the fierce battle to rid myself of this deadly decease.
"The cancer is gone!" The doctor announced on entering the room and I was momentarily speechless from relief.
My months of suffering were immediately forgotten as my Chemotherapy doctor and I shared smiles and celebrated with a high-5 hand clap on that fateful day in January.
So many may wonder what have I been doing with my life since that fateful day in January? Well quite frankly I have been trying to recover from the cancer treatments! People assume that once you are cancer free that you bounce right back; well let me inform you that you don't.
After cancer and its prescribed "medical" treatments, you will never be the same again. If you are fortunate to be a cancer survivor not only will you be on the look-out for reoccurring cancer for the rest of your life, but for new cancers and health problems as a result of the medically prescribed treatments.
Some of my cancer battle scars; (1.) I have substantial bilaterally sensorineural hearing loss that I have been told is permanent. (2.) My dental health has taken a blow as a complication of dry mouth xerostomia and I have to take special care to keep my teeth as long as possible. (3.) I suffer from short term memory challenges "Chemo Brain" which can last from two to five years or longer. Oh sure there are other aches and pains but the good new is that I am a cancer survivor and I am regaining my physical strength every day.
Chemotherapy and radiation concurrently was the treatment program I was given. Surgery was not an option because of the size and location of the cancer tumor; it had developed close to my skull and had grown substantially to the approximate size of a banana. As a result of undergoing both therapies concurrently I am now cancer free from advanced stage 3 cancer; stage 4 is when it develops in other regions of the body.
Let me emphasis these points of fact; You do not have to be a smoker, or drinker, or promiscuous to get these cancers. There are many different throat cancers, as well as oral cancers. The rare throat cancer I was diagnosed with has the following origins;
"Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is caused by a combination of factors: viral, environmental influences, and heredity. The viral influence is associated with infection with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). The Epstein-Barr virus is one of the most common viruses. 95 percent of all people in the U.S. are exposed to this virus by the time they are 30–40 years old." - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nasopharyngeal_carcinoma
"Only about seven in 1 million people in North America get this type of cancer, according to the American Cancer Society."- http://www.webmd.com/cancer/nasopharyngeal-cancer
My Oncology Physicians have documented cases where the prescribed treatment for my particular cancer was successful - even in later stages. Please note that NOT ALL cancer patiences survive such a late stage cancer; that is why I am promoting throat cancer awareness and early detection. The public should be aware of the signs and symptoms for ALL cancers.
My radiation doctor explained to me that the demographic of those diagnosed with throat cancer has changed. "No longer is it only the stereotypical poorly educated older male who is a heavy smoker and drinker that is diagnosed with throat cancer. More and more young, college educated professionals, health conscious individuals are being diagnosed with throat cancer in the United States every year." He went on to say, "Throat cancer is a hidden disease as its early symptoms are disguised as a common cold or a simple ailment like a sore in the mouth". Being uninformed is the leading factor to a high mortality rate among those diagnosed with throat cancer.
I feel it is important that you have a chance to fight and that that fight leads to victory! I want people to have that chance and that is why I am sharing my story. Let's not let Cancer take the lives of loved ones who could be among the projected casualties listed above. Those huge numbers listed represent live, breathing human beings. Below is a list of some of the presenting symptoms for throat cancer;
Symptoms of nasopharyngeal cancer may include:
Blurry or double vision
Difficulty speaking, including hoarseness
Ear infections that keep coming back
Face pain or numbness
Hearing loss, ringing in the ears, or a feeling of fullness in the ear
Lump in neck or nose
Sore throat - http://www.webmd.com/cancer/nasopharyngeal-cancer
Signs and symptoms of throat cancer may include:
Changes in your voice, such as hoarseness
A lump or sore that doesn't heal
A sore throat
Weight loss - http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/oral-and-throat-cancer/basics/symptoms/con-20042850
Please click on the hyperlinks/highlighted words for additional information. Click on the featured video link at the top of the article to share my personal year long battle with throat cancer.
I am a survivor and without faith, my friends, social support network, and family I would not have made it through my battle. Ultimately, I give the glory to God because he made everything else possible.
From the beginning I have acknowledge publicly that I could not have made it out of the darkness without my faith. I also acknowledge that everyone's battle with cancer is unique and personal. It doesn't matter how you choose to fight cancer; medically (man-made medicine) or with alternative medicine (natures medicine). Cancer awareness and early detection is of the utmost importance.