Head and Neck Cancer Survivors

HNCA honors all head and neck cancer survivors from the newly-diagnosed, those navigating through their cancer journey as well as individuals who are post-cancer treatment. Each personal story is inspiring and reflects each individual’s unique path.

We welcome and encourage others to share their head and neck cancer experience. When submitting your story, please be sure to send along photos of your life as well as 8-10 paragraphs describing your head and neck cancer journey. Please send to info@headandneck.org.

Want to read more survivor stories? Check out our ambassadors’ profiles and learn how you can become an HNCA ambassador.

Lisa Reed

Tonsil Cancer Survivor

Depression is death in recovery. It was at this point, I realized it was up to me to make something happen, so I got busy. I researched nutrition and scoured bookshelves for books focusing strictly on soups. Many recipes I had to reinvent to make them possible for me to eat.

Bill McCone

Tonsil Cancer Survivor

In September 2014, I was told that my head and neck cancer had spread to my lungs and that with standard treatment I had about a year to live.

I took the opportunity, and after just 24 weeks, there was no evidence of cancer in my body. I was floored, but I’m living life to the full, camping, walking, and traveling with my wife.

Jason Mendelsohn

HPV-related Tonsil Cancer Survivor

I continue to have quarterly checkups with either my ENT, oncologist and/or radiation oncologist as well annual scans, to ensure my cancer hasn’t returned.

My life is back to my “new normal” where I can spend time with my wife and kids, work full time and do my best to help others by serving as an ambassador for education regarding oral cancer.

Don Sublett

Tongue Cancer Survivor

While undergoing cancer treatment, I chronicled my experience by sending e-mail notes, initially, to a small group of family and friends. My initial intimate sharing mushroomed, because many of them, in turn, shared those notes far-and-wide. What started out as a small number, ultimately resulted in an e-mail list of approximately 250 people receiving my cancer updates. Several who received my updates told me, “Don, you have a story to tell. I hope you will write a book about your experience and include your e-mail updates!”

Hank Deneski

Tongue Cancer Survivor

Diagnosed in 2005, Hank’s ENT advised surgery would be debilitating – removal of his tongue, esophagus, and voice box — creating a nearly impossible recuperation. As a result, both chemotherapy and radiation were prescribed. During all of it, Hank never asked

“why me?”

but with herculean determination proceeded with

“what’s next Doc?”

Geoffrey N. Read

Laryngeal Cancer Survivor

Eventually, in 2014 my consultant referred me to a consultant surgeon in the Northeast of England where I underwent a Major Pectoral Muscle Flap. This entailed taking muscle tissue from my left chest / breast and flapping it into my neck.

This all went remarkably well and I was up and running again reasonably quickly. I was again able to eat, drink and talk. I can eat and drink, albeit slowly, and the food must be soft and small.

But… I am now unable to talk at all.

Jessica Tar

National Spokesperson for the HNCA & Oral Cancer Survivor

During the time that I made progress to access the medical care that I needed, I was also plagued with hurdles of distraction, denial and misinformation, all of which played a role in delaying my final diagnosis. I believe that my success as a cancer patient is first due to the process of recognition on a basic level, that something in my body was not the same as it was and I was worse off. Secondly, comes the art of dismissing medical opinions that are presented as final truths and respectfully seeking out alternative opinions with an air of diligence and anticipation of inconvenience…

1-866-792-4622 (HNCA)

I had no idea that HPV could cause head and neck cancer. I am an advocate for everyone I know. I don’t want them to experience what I and my family experienced because we did not know about this sexually transmitted virus.Tina O’Dell
Survivor of HPV-Attributed Stage III Squamous Cell

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