The 49-year-old "always had trouble with abscesses" in her mouth but, this time, it felt a bit different."You know yourself if there's something not r
The 49-year-old “always had trouble with abscesses” in her mouth but, this time, it felt a bit different.
“You know yourself if there’s something not right,” Andrea said. “And when I went to my dentist the last time, I said that the pain felt deeper than when I had abscesses.”
While the dentist “couldn’t see anything”, Andrea’s persistence paid off when she asked for another medical opinion.
Referred to the head and neck team at Ulster Hospital, in February of this year, Andrea learned she had cancer.
“Mouth cancer is regarded as an old man’s cancer and affects those who smoked,” Andrea said.
She added: “I never smoked, but I’ve since met a couple of ladies with the same type of cancer as me who are in the same boat.”
In May, Andrea had surgery that didn’t go to plan, which meant she had to stay at the hospital for seven weeks.
“It was discovered that the cancer had spread into my jaw so I had to have my lower jaw removed and rebuilt with a metal plate and bone from my lower leg,” Andrea told Belfast Live.
She added: “That operation was over 14 hours and involved building up the floor under the tongue called a flap.
“But 10 days later that failed and I was rushed back into surgery for another long operation lasting 10 hours.”
Andrea’s surgeon said it was a “miracle” that they could have her jaw working again.
To help treat the cancer, Andrea underwent radiotherapy at the Cancer Centre at Belfast City Hospital.
Andrea said: “I’m lucky that I’m still here and still fighting, as I wait for results to see if they’ve got all the cancer.
As a thank you for all the support she’s received in her cancer journey so far, Andrea organised a Macmillan Coffee Morning that raised £6,000.
The funds raised will go towards Cancer Services in the South Eastern Health & Social Care Trust and Macmillan Cancer Support.
Mouth cancer symptoms
Macmillan Cancer Support listed the symptoms of mouth cancer, which are:
- A mouth ulcer or sore that does not heal in three weeks
- A lump or thickening in the mouth or on the lip
- Difficulty or pain with chewing, swallowing or speaking
- Bleeding or numbness in the mouth
- Bad breath (halitosis)
- Loose teeth or dentures that do not fit well anymore
- A lump in the neck
- Red patches (erythroplakia) or white patches (leukoplakia) that do not go away.
If you are concerned about signs of cancer, do book an appointment with your dentist and vocalise your concern.
Source: | This article first appeared on Express.co.uk