Dad has - T4 Nb3 M0 base on tongue cancer

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Hi all,

My Dad was diagnosed with tongue cancer at the begging on April and was planned to have surgery to remove the tumour and reconstruct on 1st May. He was planned to have a temporary tracheostomy and NG tube. However once on the operating table the surgery had to be stopped as the tumour had grown and further scans needed to be done to see what the next steps would be. He had already had the tracheostomy put in place and scans revealed it had almost doubled in size in 3 weeks and surgery was no longer an option and gone from stage 3 to stage 4. He then had a referral to the oncologist who have recommended 2 cycles of chemotherapy (which he is now on his 2nd cycle) and then complete more scans to see how the tumour is reacting. My dad is getting very frustrated as he is having to deal with the tracheostomy, RIG and the tongue cancer diagnoses all in less than a couple of months and he is currently N.B.M as they need to complete a swallowing assessment but have struggled previously due to the amount of secretions he is having. My worry is why haven't they started radiotherapy yet? And is the chemotherapy he is receiving strong enough as he hasnt really had any major side effects just a couple of sick days and tired. 

Sorry for the long message been alot to take in these last few weeks

  • Hi  

    Sorry to hear about your father. 
    My advice would be to phone his CNS to discuss how the treatment is going. They are best placed to answer your questions. 
    RT is usually delayed till after induction chemo( the sort your dad is having) to gauge the response with a further scan. RT is pretty targeted these days and there is little point in irradiating a huge area with awful long term side effects if chemo can reduce the size of the cancer before radiotherapy 

    My thoughts are with you xx


    Base of tongue cancer. T2N0M0 6 weeks Radiotherapy finished January 2019

    I wrote a blog about my cancer. just click on the link below 

    Macmillan Support Line - 0808 808 00 00, 7 days a week between 8am-8pm

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  • Hi Nik

    really sorry to hear about your Dad our cancers go by size and not in stages like some others,so T4 is the largest which some of us had.

    Mine had also spread to base of tongue showing activity in left tonsil and in lots of lymph nodes in neck to top of chest. Like your Dad surgery wasn't an option as margins weren't big enough.

    Please speak to his CNS ( phone /email or both)or whoever is his link with the hospital he is under and ask all of your questions about Radiotherapy/his plan etc. Its impossible to answer as we are all so unique as individuals and also in our treatment plans .Plus each trust is different too .

    Its all do difficult and so frustrating for him and you but hopefully you will both be able to get some answers asap.