Individual
Denyse
Australia
Story

My squamous cell carcinoma in my upper gums & under one side of upper lip was diagnosed by biopsy in mid-May 2017. I was 67 & female who had no “risk factors” like smoking nor drinking alcohol. No HPV (human papillomavirus) was detected. 

The cause is often not known but for the biopsy, my mouth was irritated, red & sore under & near a bridge of teeth that were in my upper gums. The skin started swelling too so much in April 2017, I insisted my dentist remove the teeth & bridge. After recovery the gums remained smelly, flappy & sore. That was when the biopsy occurred.

I had long suspected cancer but was ignorant of how cancer affects different parts of our mouth & associated organs. My GP & dentist dismissed my fears for about a year before diagnosis. 

My good fortune after diagnosis was to be referred to a top Head & Neck cancer specialist team including a prosthodontist & in weeks leading up to major surgery had consultations to my mouth & tests to enable the removal of cancer & my upper mouth to have models for surgery adequately made. This planning took 7 weeks. It was a nerve-wracking wait! 

The major surgery in July 2017 saw my mouth area taken away from top & remodeling occur using my right fibula (jaw) & flesh: palate & mouth. 

3 more reconstruction surgeries occurred & I am now speaking & eating well thanks to a new upper prosthesis of teeth. More treatments are likely. To have a multidisciplinary team is wonderful. I also now spend time on my blog & social media ensuring that others are mouth cancer aware. 

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