|Image from Wikipedia by Steve Jurvetson|
"I wanted to let you know that I have just been diagnosed with throat cancer. The good news is that the prognosis from my doctors is excellent, the cancer was caught quickly, and my condition is curable. Following thorough tests that included a CAT scan, PET scan and a biopsy, the cancer is confined to the original site and the adjacent lymph nodes on the right side of my neck. Importantly, there is no evidence of cancer elsewhere in my body." [link]
Although he states the prognosis is good, it is not as good compared to patients where no neck mass is present (Stage 1 or 2) where chemotherapy may not even be necessary.
He also mentions the word "curable" which I am leary of when he has just started treatment. Even if no cancer is detectable at the end of treatment, throat cancer, especially stage 3 or 4, has the potential to come back.
Recall the case of actor Larry Hagman of Dallas fame... He had throat cancer and was declared "cured" 8/29/12. Than on 11/24/13, he died of cancer recurrence and complications.
The risk of cancer recurrence is highest within the first 2-3 years after treatment completion, and markedly decreases after 5 years.
Typically if cancer has not come back after 5 years, the word "cure" may than be used, but even than, such patients are seen yearly for the rest of their life for cancer monitoring.
Because the risk of cancer recurrence is so high in the first few years after treatment completion, patients are seen frequently for the first 2-3 years after treatment.
Every 2 months for the first year. Every 3-4 months in the 2nd year. Every 4 months in the 3rd year. Every 6 months in the 4th year. Yearly starting at 5 years after treatment.
This type of follow-up applies to all head and neck cancer.
JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon has cancer. USA Today 7/2/14
JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon's letter to shareholders. USA Today 7/1/14