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#184755 09-01-2014 03:33 PM
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My mother has been very healthy until last winter when she had to have an aortic valve replacement. She was up and down butrallied and we had an awesome 90th birthday party for her in mid July. She mentioned a lump behind her ear to my sister but said it wasn't painful and wasn't overly concerned about it. Over the past 3 weeks she has had 3 falls and is now so weak she can barely function. She went into a small assisted living facility 2 days ago. Last week she finally went to a doctor about the lump and was told it was cancer of the jaw. I live in MD and she lives in FL and I have to depend on a brother who is not very close for information. As far as I know she had no radiologic testing but is scheduled for a PET scan next week. Couple questions, can be jaw cx be diagnosed by a physical exam only? My brother tells me there is not any question that she has it but I don't understand how. Second question, for a 90 year old in her weakened condition, are there many options or should we be prepared for pallative care only? Last question, could this cancer cause her equuillibrium to be off and cause the falls? New to this so thx for your input!

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Im so very sorry you and your mother are going thru this! Being far away it must be very frightening and frustrating for both of you.

Only thru a biopsy can a tumor be confirmed to be positive for cancer. If she has a lump and swelling near her ear then yes that can cause her balance to be off.

As far as treatment decisions its a very personal family decision. Ive seen all kinds of situations with elderly patients. Some fare very well and go on to have many happy, healthy years ahead. Other patients will not do so well. Its a very individual decision.

If at all possible, are you able to go help your mother with this? It sounds like she could use a good advocate in her corner to help her with everything. This sounds to me like her situation would greatly benefit from having you there, even if its just to see things with your own eyes instead of second hand knowledge.

She could be weakened due to her intake. If her intake isnt enough (especially if she has cancer) then she will not have much strength or stamina. Are you able to discuss her diet with the staff at her center? Maybe they have a dietician who can help to boost her intake to help her regain some strength.

Best wishes!


Christine
SCC 6/15/07 L chk & by L molar both Stag I, age44
2x cispltn-35 IMRT end 9/27/07
-65 lbs in 2 mo, no caregvr
Clear PET 1/08
4/4/08 recur L chk Stag I
surg 4/16/08 clr marg
215 HBO dives
3/09 teeth out, trismus
7/2/09 recur, Stg IV
8/24/09 trach, ND, mandiblctmy
3wks medicly inducd coma
2 mo xtended hospital stay, ICU & burn unit
PICC line IV antibx 8 mo
10/4/10, 2/14/11 reconst surg
OC 3x in 3 years
very happy to be alive smile
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Sorry to hear about your Mother. As Christine states, a biopsy is required to determine if the cells are cancerous. With the PET staging can be done.

Given the situation you offered, speak with your Mom and ask her to be added to the list for receiving all reports and access to her doctors. That way at least you can get information directly and also ask specific questions particularly as if this cancer and at her age there will be more difficult decisions ahead.

There is a lot of information here so start reading up and feel free to post as you move along.


Don
Male, 57 - Great health except C
Dec '12
DX: BOT SCC T2N2bMx, Stage 4a, HPV+, multiple nodes
1 tooth out
Jan '13
2nd tooth out
Tumor Board -induction TPF (3 cycles), seq CRT
4-6/2013
CRT 70gr 2x35, weekly carbo150
ended 5/29,6/4
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Must have bio and then we can advise you.


David

Age 58 at Dx, HPV16+ SCC, Stage IV BOT+2 nodes, non smoker, casual drinker, exercise nut, Cisplatin x 3 & concurrent IMRT x 35,(70 Gy), no surgery, no Peg, Tx at Moffitt over Aug 06. Jun 07, back to riding my bike 100 miles a wk. Now doing 12 Spin classes and 60 outdoor miles per wk. Nov 13 completed Hilly Century ride for Cancer, 104 miles, 1st Place in my age group. Apr 2014 & 15, Spun for 9 straight hrs to raise $$ for YMCA's Livestrong Program. Certified Spin Instructor Jun 2014.
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Sorry I haven't posted in a couple days. An update. I talked to a nurse at the ENT who dx mom. It is not jaw cancer but cancer of of parotid gland. She told me the tumor was 2" (which if my metric conversion is correct it's about 5cm) They did a needle aspiration while she was there and the preliminary report showed cancerous cells. The final report should be in tomorrow or Friday. She is also scheduled to have a PET scan. She is settled in her new home, a small, private (4 residents) assisted living facility and says she likes it. I have been approved for FMLA at my job but am going to wait to see what I am going to do. I am not wealthy by any means and this would be my 3rd trip down there this year, and of course, unpaid. I will find a way to do it if it will help her but for now I want to wait and see what the final test results are. I don't know how much her body can take at this point but I am not going to let her go through this without some kind of family support. My brother lives there but I'm not sure how much good he'll do. Ahh..the dysfunctional family!

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Thanks for the update. Sounds like you have more info now. Dealing directly with the medical professionals will make this so much easier for you.


Please add a signature next time you check in. Ive sent you everything you need in a private message (PM). Click on the tiny flashing envelope next to the My Stuff tab. There is important info included in the link Ive sent.

Thanks!



Christine
SCC 6/15/07 L chk & by L molar both Stag I, age44
2x cispltn-35 IMRT end 9/27/07
-65 lbs in 2 mo, no caregvr
Clear PET 1/08
4/4/08 recur L chk Stag I
surg 4/16/08 clr marg
215 HBO dives
3/09 teeth out, trismus
7/2/09 recur, Stg IV
8/24/09 trach, ND, mandiblctmy
3wks medicly inducd coma
2 mo xtended hospital stay, ICU & burn unit
PICC line IV antibx 8 mo
10/4/10, 2/14/11 reconst surg
OC 3x in 3 years
very happy to be alive smile
Joined: Mar 2014
Posts: 286
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Tricia friends and family don't always behave how you expect in a serious crisis. Some will disappoint, some will surprise you and step up to the plate. It's hard to force people to do more than they are willing to do, and it causes tension in the family that will be a drain on your mother. I hope you find a way to navigate through the difficulties and come out with a good outcome.


Cheers, Dave (OzMojo)
19Feb2014 Diagnosed T2N2bM0 P16+ve SCC Tonsil.
31Mar2014 2 Cisplatin, 70gy over 7 weeks (completed 16May2014)
11August2014 PET/CT clear.
17July2019 5 years NED.
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Hello Tricia, this is a very hard position for you and your Mother to be in. You will both have a lot to weigh up.
Take your time to get fully informed. If you can, accompany your Mum to appointments. You will need to be her advocate.
I think, that until such time as you are presented with treatment options, there are currently no decisions to be made.
This is a nasty cancer and current treatments are brutal. Your Mothers age and general health will be a huge consideration.
Yours sounds like a typical family.
Tammy


Caregiver/advocate to Husband Kris age 59@ diagnosis
DX Dec '10 SCC BOT T4aN2bM0 HPV+ve.Cisplatin x3 35 IMRT.
PET 6/11 clear.
R) level 2-4 neck dissection 8/1/11 to remove residual node - necrotic with NED
Feb '12 Ca back.. 3/8/12 total glossectomy/laryngectomy/bilat neck dissection/partial pharyngectomy etc. clear margins. All nodes negative for disease. PEG in.
March 2017 - 5 years disease free. Woohoo!
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wow, much better news about the location of the cancer. One downside of parotid is it will get whacked hard by the rads so loss of saliva will be more.

Glad you are getting the story right at the source.

Keep reading and learning. Since you have to travel quite a distance, you can not be there all the time. The treatment runs months as does recovery. You will certainly want to make the best use of time and money to maximize the times you spend your mother. About how many trips and time off can you afford?


Don
Male, 57 - Great health except C
Dec '12
DX: BOT SCC T2N2bMx, Stage 4a, HPV+, multiple nodes
1 tooth out
Jan '13
2nd tooth out
Tumor Board -induction TPF (3 cycles), seq CRT
4-6/2013
CRT 70gr 2x35, weekly carbo150
ended 5/29,6/4
All the details, join at http://beatdown.cognacom.com
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Posts: 4
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As to what I can afford, I don't know. My mind is kind of fuzzy. I will find a way to do what ever I need to do but I don't want to add any stress to the situation with my family. Until we get the final results on everything, I'm just going to try to be patient. I know she is being taken care of. I happened to think yesterday about something. We are all talking about her but I don't know if anyone is actually taking to her about this. Should I try to talk to her? Her latest phone calls have been short and she just sounds so weak. Opinions?

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