I knew that one of my best friends (I’ll call him S.) had gotten all his teeth pulled and replaced with full dentures this past September after moving away a year ago. Then, I found out that he’d had his tonsils removed soon after that. A couple of days ago, test results revealed the presence of squamous cancer cells in his throat and a lump in his lungs.
My head began to reel as the truth dawned on me: my pal had cancer.
It took a lot of effort not to burst out in hysterical tears when my friend said calmly:
“It’s been a lot to process.”
The whole story came out. In February, a persistent infection inside his mouth became bothersome enough to begin treating with colloidal silver drops and hydrogen peroxide rinses. By August, one side of his throat also hurt a lot so he visited a dentist.
The dentist said all of my friend’s teeth were badly decayed and the infection had spread into a lymph gland on the left side of his throat near the inflamed tonsils. Pulling the teeth helped reduce the infection and the new falsies were working out just fine.
But the sore throat persisted, to the point where it hurt to swallow. S. (who has a small potato chip belly but is nowhere near obese) lost weight rapidly from not eating. He soon booked another medical appointment, this time with a doctor.
- requested a
- fine-needle aspiration biopsy
- to see what the heck was going on with the lump near his left lymph node. A fluid sample was taken. The lab analysis from the rural regional hospital reported no cancer.
The doctor recommended a tonsillectomy, a common procedure performed on children and younger folks. Doc said S. was the first 66-year-old patient whose tonsils he’d removed.
One extracted tonsil looked particularly strange, so much so that the doctor ordered a composite x-ray CT scan to get more information. The image revealed squamous cancer cells in the left tonsil area where it had recently been surgically removed. There was also a mass of potentially-malignant cells present in his lungs.
The next step will be for S. to get a positron emission tomography PET scan. This imaging test uses a radioactive tracer drug that pops the color of diseased cells, making them easier to pinpoint and identify.
The doctor in charge of S. has advised treating the squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs) with radiation rather than chemo-therapy. The two therapies operate within different departments at the regional hospital.
The good news is that most cases of squamous cell carcinoma can be cured if they are treated early enough. SCC is the second most common form of skin cancer.
Squamous cells are one of three main types of cells in the top layer of the skin (the epidermis). These flat cells lie near the skin’s surface and shed continuously as new ones form. SCC is triggered by DNA damage due to hereditary and/or environmental factors, including:
- Heavy alcohol use
- Heavy tobacco use
- Fair skin
- Over 40 years old
- Exposed to toxic chemicals in sawdust
We’re all trying to figure out how this could happen to such a nice guy, such a robust, marathon-running, salmon-stalking man. S. is of Irish descent, fair-complected and freckled. Over 30 years ago, he gave up his bad habits and joined self-help groups. He was, however, a master flooring carpenter for decades and inhaled or was otherwise exposed to a lot of toxic chemicals along the way.
Regardless of what caused this cancer, my friend now has to deal with it. The first thing he decided was to keep working his job promoting floor sealants at a mall kiosk until the course of multiple radiation treatments begin.
Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays (such as x-rays) or particles (such as photons, electrons, or protons) to kill cancer cells. Repeated doses of radiation can often cure small squamous cell skin cancers. Cure rates are around 90 percent.
I read that getting radiation treatment is a lot like getting an x-ray: painless but possibly harmful to soft tissues and organs throughout the body. Side effects of this powerful treatment method include skin irritation and discoloration, hair loss, and damage to saliva-making glands.
Meanwhile, S. is planning to ask his Colorado CBD oil and medical marijuana supplier contacts for their advice and guidance through these troubled times.
My prayers go out to my great friend S. for best possible outcomes. Dear Readers, I invite yours as well.