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August 30, 2012

Actor Larry Hagman Treated for Throat Cancer

Image by Toglenn from Wikipedia
In June 2011, actor Larry Hagman was diagnosed with stage 2 throat cancer. It is unclear exactly where the throat cancer was localized to (tongue, tonsil, supraglottis, hypopharynx, oropharynx, etc), but it was treated medically with radiation and chemotherapy.

Larry Hagman is a well-known actor playing oil baron J.R. Ewing in the soap opera Dallas (1980s as well as 2012) as well as Major Nelson in  the TV sitcom I Dream of Jeannie. Most impressive was the fact that he continued to act while undergoing cancer treatment for the Dallas remake.

Yesterday, Aug 29, 2012, media reported that the actor is now "cancer free."

Hogwash...

Throat cancer, especially stage 2, has the potential to come back. Though there may be no detectable signs of cancer currently, there is the possibility of cancer coming back in the future.

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.

Given the high risk of cancer recurrence, 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.


Source:
Larry Hagman is cancer-free. SFGate 8/29/12

Larry Hagman. Wikipedia
Fauquier blog
Fauquier ENT

Dr. Christopher Chang is a private practice otolaryngology, head & neck surgeon specializing in the treatment of problems related to the ear, nose, and throat. Located in Warrenton, VA about 45 minutes west of Washington DC, he also provides inhalant allergy testing/treatment, hearing tests, and dispenses hearing aids. Google+ Christopher Chang, MD Bio

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