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Formom
4 Posts

I am new. My mom 73 was just diagnosed with throat cancer. It’s been 2 weeks since she was told. Tomorrow she gets a CT scan. I am not sure what to ask as my mom won’t speak up for herself. I am wondering why they didn’t give her choice where she could get treated. They are sending her to an old hospital instead of the newer Cancer Hospita. Does she have choice, can she get a second opinion? Evwry thing is happening so fast. She feels that that they are telling her what to do instead of discussing opinion. I have talked to a lot of people who has gone to the newer hospital and have had positive experiences and everyone tells not to take my mom to the older hospital. Not sure what to do.

9 Replies
Boby1511
595 Posts

@Formom

hi there.

you can ask for a referral and request the other location.

I think some travel costs are not covered if you elect a further hospital than the one designated to you.

I had 2 second opinions from other hospitals. Although they all said the same thing.

my local oncologist made the referrals and it happened quickly.

my doc was happy to get the consultations.

sending you best wishes.

Boby1511
595 Posts

@Formom

Her docs may not know what’s next yet. Ct will tell them if there is more cancer. If the throat is the primary and not mets.
A CT can happen at almost any hospital but what happens next you get more choices.
I travelled for my surgery and it’s an option if I have another. But will likely have to pay my travel costs.

Your mom is at the beginning. Ask her docs anything you like till you both understand.

There really is not a lot of control in the beginning. Once you talk to her docs again you can get a second opinion. Another oncologist will take a look.

Formom
4 Posts

Thank you

Boby1511
595 Posts

@Formom

i feel for you. The beginning is very scary. So many unknowns.

maybe write down what you want to know and bring your list for next time you speak with the doc.

it may be a few days after the ct till you get the next step. Or could be sooner. It depends on what the scan tells.

sending you both hugs.

Brighty
7488 Posts

@Formom thank you joining cancer connection. So sorry for your moms diagnosis!!!!! On the site we have some discussions you might like to join. If you click on ‘forums’and ‘cancer types’ and ‘head and neck' you may want to read through some discussions and join. We also have caregiver discussions under ‘forums’where caregivers share tips on how to best care for their loved ones. Will you be her primary caregiver? We also have a cancer info line to call . They can help you formulate questions to ask during appointments . 1 888 939 3333. I would also like you to meet @law1

@JamesT

And @Ken Anderson who have experience with head and neck cancers and can help. How is your mom coping?how are you coping? You might also find it helpful to be in touch with the oncology social worker. Every cancer center has one. As well, the oncology dietitian would be another good one to talk to ,. He or she will be able to suggest food options that your mom can have that wont be too painful to consume but still keep the correct daily calorie intake. I know this is a lot of info and I dont want to overwhelm you, so hope this is a start . Im sure the others will join in soon to help. This is an awsome community!

Runner Girl
2144 Posts

@Formom

I've done a search and found a list of questions related to a throat cancer diagnosis. See below. Use whichever apply to your mom's situation.

Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Laryngeal or Hypopharyngeal Cancer

It is important to have honest, open discussions with your cancer care team. They want to answer all of your questions, so that you can make informed treatment decisions. For instance, consider these questions:

When you’re told you have laryngeal or hypopharyngeal cancer

  • Where is my cancer located?
  • Has my cancer spread beyond where it started?
  • What is my cancer's stage (extent) , and what does that mean?
  • Will I need other tests before we can decide on treatment?
  • Will I need to see other doctors or health care professionals?
  • If I’m concerned about the costs and insurance coverage for my diagnosis and treatment, who can help me?

When deciding on a treatment plan

  • Do you have a lot of experience treating this type of cancer?
  • What are my treatment options?
  • If surgery is part of my treatment, will I need a laryngectomy? If so, what type? Will my voice be affected?
  • What do you recommend and why?
  • What is the goal of the treatment?
  • What are the chances that I can be cured of this cancer with these treatment options?
  • How quickly do I need to decide on treatment?
  • What should I do to be ready for treatment?
  • How long will treatment last? What will it be like? Where will it be done?
  • What risks or side effects are there to the treatments you suggest? Are there things I can do to reduce the side effects?
  • How will this treatment affect my voice? If my larynx is removed, what are the options for restoring my voice?
  • Should I get a second opinion? How do I do that? Can you recommend someone?
  • How will treatment affect my daily activities? Can I still work fulltime?
  • What would my options be if the treatment doesn’t work or if the cancer comes back (recurs) after treatment?
  • What if I have transportation problems getting to and from treatment?
  • Are you aware of any clinical trials I might be eligible for?

During treatment

Once treatment begins, you’ll need to know what to expect and what to look for. Not all of these questions may apply to you but asking the ones that do may be helpful.

  • How will I know if the treatment is working?
  • Is there anything I can do to help manage side effects?
  • What symptoms or side effects should I tell you about right away?
  • How can I reach you on nights, holidays, or weekends?
  • Do I need to change what I eat during treatment?
  • Are there limits on what I can do or what I can eat?
  • Can I exercise during treatment? If so, what kind should I do, and how often?
  • Can you suggest a mental health professional I can see if I start to feel overwhelmed, depressed, or distressed?
  • What if I need social support during treatment because my family lives far away?

After treatment

  • Do I need a special diet after treatment?
  • Do I need to see a specialist to check my speech and swallow functions?
  • Are there any limits on what I can do?
  • What symptoms should I watch for?
  • What kind of exercise should I do now?
  • How often will I need to have follow-up exams and imaging tests?
  • When should my next endoscopy be done?
  • Will I need blood tests?
  • How will we know if the cancer has come back? What should I watch for?
  • What will my options be if the cancer comes back?
  • What type of follow-up will I need after treatment?

Runner Girl

law1
584 Posts

Welcome, @Formom

I am so relieved @Brighty tagged me, and that you posted about your Mom and your caregiving questions. @Runner Girl gave a Bible of questions to think about asking your Medical team…..this website is full of caring people who have and are still touched by cancer. Throat cancer diagnosis may be unnerving --- although I just had tongue cancer which was scary and painful enough.

To add to the Questions from Runner Girl, I can tell you to make sure you have a good understanding of your role as caregiver for your Mom….most Cancer Centres have social workers or counsellors who are top-notch professionals who lead people through the puzzle of cancer, including the supportive caregivers. I hope you check them out!!!

Cancer of the esophagus will be challenging to devise a diet easy to swallow…and an Oncology Nutritionist associated with the Cancer Centre will assist you and your Mom if you meet with one.

I had difficulty swallowing as my mouth and tongue were extremely sore. I do not know for certain about the esophageal reactions as treatments differ.

Please let us know how things progress with both You and your Mom

law1

Formom
4 Posts

Thank you

Formom
4 Posts

Thank you

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