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Your Healthy Family: Surviving HPV throat cancer - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Your Healthy Family: Surviving HPV throat cancer

"Treatment was a drag.  It was really hard and I was lucky, and it was really hard.  I didn't have chemo, but I did have six weeks of radiation therapy. "Treatment was a drag. It was really hard and I was lucky, and it was really hard. I didn't have chemo, but I did have six weeks of radiation therapy.
COLORADO SPRINGS -

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month.  Dr. Fred Guerra, a Colorado Springs dentist says that with the awareness now of the dangers of smoking and drinking, that H.P.V., human papilloma virus driven oral cancers are becoming one of the most prevalent types of oral cancer.

Joe foster is a Colorado Springs resident, and a survivor of oral cancer.  Joe recalls, ”I  developed a lump on the side of my neck, similar to what you might have when you get a cold and it swells up and goes back down.  Mine never went back down.”

Joe decided it was something he should get checked out.  That hunch follows the advice of dentists about what to look for in terms of the warning signs of oral or throat cancer.

Dr. Fred Guerra says, ”The most common sign is someone will have a sore in their mouth like a ulceration, that doesn't heal.  It's persistent and it might be painful.  The thought is let's give something like that ten days to two weeks to heal, after that we want to get it looked at.”

Joe began with his primary care doctor, who send him to an ear nose and throat doctor, who gave him the sobering diagnosis.  ”My doctor in the fall of 2012 said, ‘you've got throat cancer and yours was caused by a virus, human papillomavirus H.P.V’.  H.P.V. is responsible for a variety of cancers in men and women and for me it was responsible for my throat cancer."

Joe’s next step was treatment, which was no walk in the park.  "Treatment was a drag.  It was really hard and I was lucky, and it was really hard.  I didn't have chemo, but I did have six weeks of radiation therapy.  I had neck surgery to remove some lymph nodes.  I lost all the taste in my mouth.  Swallowing became almost unbearable, and I lost about 25 pounds."

Dr. Amir Salek is a family practice doctor with UCHealth who says H.P.V. cancers need to be treated and prevented aggressively.  ”Similar to all cancers it can be very very serious, and that is the importance of why this type of infection, along with any other type of infection needs to be monitored and prevented as best as possible, and treat it if it occurs."

In our next Your Healthy Family story, we’ll learn more about Joe’s outcome, and Dr. Salek will talk more about prevention of H.P.V. in terms of the importance of vaccination, especially for teens.  

Dr. Guerra says during the month of April, if anyone is interested in a free oral cancer screening just call his office, at 719-596-1230 and you can arrange a screening free of charge. Guerra Dental is located at 3208 Academy Blvd N #100, Colorado Springs, CO 80917

http://guerradental.com/

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