How a little pimple on the palate ended up in cancer: “I didn’t give it any importance”

He was playing his daily game of winking at the bar with friends when JH, 61, noticed a small pimple on the palate. This story, completely true, happened 9 years ago, in 2013. At first he didn’t give it too much importance because, from what he says, he thought it was “an injury” caused by a “stupid” circumstance like an accidental bite or food. However, the red dot has not disappeared from the mouth of this man from La Rioja living in Zaragoza, but it has grown. “One day while eating, I had the impression of burning, of having an unbearable sting and then I went to the doctor,” he recalls. It was more than six years ago and during this medical consultation, JH received “some news he did not expect”: his lump on the palate was cancer. “I was pale,” he said.

Sometimes these types of cancers are detected late because, according to doctors, “you don’t think about them” because they are not as frequent as the others. Smoking tobacco daily and consuming more than three glasses of wine a day are the main risk factors for cancers that affect the tongue, oral mucosa, gums, pharynx, base of the tongue, palate and larynx. In fact, specialists indicate that any change in any of these areas that lasts longer than three weeks or is bothersome should be the subject of immediate medical consultation.

JH had surgery (they had to completely rebuild the palace), but they did not give him chemotherapy or radiation. However, the second setback came just under a year later, when a check detected a spot on her tongue and the word cancer was repeated again. “It may sound ridiculous, but the first thing I thought of when they told me was Mayra Gómez Kemp, the presenter of the One two three, because a few days ago I had seen her on television recounting the same case and I was shocked to hear it, “explains JH, who attributes his double disease to tobacco, as the doctors told him. ” In my case, the papillomavirus had nothing to do with it. I’m clear that my 30-plus years of smoking have cost me dearly,” he says.

this patient underwent four months of chemotherapy sessions radiotherapy and, as a result, suffered side effects from the treatment. He lost weight, part of his hair and his way of speaking became “weird”, he says with a laugh. “Sometimes I use a notebook to write down what I want to say, because if they don’t understand me or if I can’t explain myself, I get nervous,” he says.

This type of cancer has a 50% survival rate if caught early. In this sense, “convinced” JH defends early diagnosis because, as he points out, “it is the key to living; no more no less “. For the moment, he is “impatiently” awaiting the arrival of this medical consultation in which the doctor announces that his body is free of cancer. “There are fewer left,” he said hopefully.

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