Three years on from Tonsillar SCC

Well, it’s three years today since I got the phone call confirming they’d found SCC cells in the annoying lump in my neck, ‘Probably tonsillar in origin’. In the three months following the full diagnosis of T1, N1, M0 I underwent TORS to remove the offending tonsil plus a right hand neck dissection followed by 63 Grays of RT and weekly chemotherapy.  It all ended on January 2nd 2021. 
I am now 66 and life is fully back on track. That said I feel that things are still healing with my throat throwing up the odd surprise now and again and my neck getting sore in the sun, if I’m not careful, and occasionally stiff.  None of these things are in any way life-limiting, however.
My eating is normal, other than having to concentrate harder on swallowing dry or starchy foods, although some spicy things can set my throat off - as can drinking too much tea. I also get sore gums from time to time which I just rinse with salt water and bicarbonate off soda for a few days. However, I’ve learned to not worry too much and to be patient with any changes in my neck and throat and things have always got back to normal after a few days.  I need to put suncream on when I go out in the sun and I now have a collection of fetching sun hats for every occasion dotted around the place.  I’ve changed my dentist to one more knowledgable about H&N cancers and see him every four months for a thorough mouth check. I have my, hopefully, final lymphodema check next week. Hospital checks are every 3 months, now alternating between a phone call and a face to face.
So that’s me 3 years on. Any limitations to how life was BC are very minor and in no way prevent me from living life normally. Yes, I’ve encountered the odd bump in the road along the way, as many of us do, but overall the journey has been a positive one.
Hoping this might be helpful to anyone following on behind. 

  • Hi MarkEL what a good post to read, so pleased you are doing so well. These posts are really helpful for those who are coming up behind us. All the best.


  • Hi Mark Onwards  and upwards towards infinity and beyond.Great for others who sadly will follow us. Treatment is just a mere memory now but at the time it was so scary. 
    hugs Hazel x

    Hazel aka RadioactiveRaz 

    My blog is  HPV 16+ tonsil cancer Now 5 years  post treatment. 35 radiotherapy 2 chemo T2N2NM.Happily getting on with living always happy to help  

  • Hi Mark.  You write so well!  My cancer different to most of you guys but still there is such a lot that is relevant, and I get so much help from the posts.  As Dani often says lots of info which we don’t get from our medical teams. Great to hear you are doing good.



  • Fantastic post to read. I'm so pleased you're in good place. 

  • Hi Markel, this is such a fantastic post to read. I'm so pleased that you're in good place. 

  • Hi Mark. What a lovely post to read. You have been so thorough and honest on your bio I do signpost a lot of people to it. Perhaps you could append this post as a sort of update. It will give so many people just starting on this road a huge amount of hope. 

    Congrats on your three years......I am chasing Hazel who is a whisker away from her 5

    I've been lucky to have had only two telephone consults and to have been looked after the same surgeon and oncologist all the way through. One more appointment with my surgeon and one with my Onc and I'm done.


    Base of tongue cancer. Out of radiotherapy January 2019

    Blog about my cancer. 

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

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  • Hi Markel.  Thankyou for writing this post.  Your posts have always been very helpful to me.  I am roughly a year behind you and always read what you write with interest.  All the best.  Lizzie