A Battle with Tongue Cancer
- 27-year-old Dayle Gordon from Australia had half of his tongue removed after a tongue cancer diagnosis.
- Gordon’s first symptom a mouth ulcer was originally dismissed before doctors realized he had cancer.
- Tongue cancer is associated with HPV, the human papillomavirus. Getting the HPV vaccine is one way to prevent this cancer and can be administered starting as young as 9 years old.
The healthy, young Australian originally went to the doctor with a lingering mouth ulcer, according to the Daily Mail. Sadly, the doctors initially dismissed the ulcer as non-problematic, until a later diagnosis determined Gordon did, in fact, have cancer.Read More
His treatment did not end there. The cancer returned less than a year later, and he was forced to have another major surgery to remove a large lump on his neck. Then, the worst news to date came in April 2021 when scans showed a tumor in his heart. (Cardiac metastasis from a primary head and neck cancer is a rare finding.)View this post on Instagram
In a recent post to Facebook, Gordon’s partner Taylah Arnott gave an update saying the couple was “heart broken last week with news that a tumour has moved to [Dayle’s] heart and this two year battle isn't over yet you inspire me every single day with how strong and determine[d] you are to beat this.”
Faced with a poor prognosis, Gordon and his loved ones knew they had to seek alternative treatment options.
“Unfortunately Australia is quite far behind with blood analysis and cancer treatment,” Gordon’s sister Jessica Sexton writes on the GoFundMe page. “So in order to give Dayle the best chance, his bloods have been sent to Europe. His specialist focuses on cancer genetic profiling, as well as mutations and other alternative therapy.”
While more promising, this type of treatment is also more expensive. Sexton says her brother’s treatment plan is around $12,000 per month with initial costs over $50,000. Sexton made the fundraising page for her brother in the hopes of helping him with the financial burden of treatment.
“Dayle is so young and still has his whole life in front of him with his beautiful partner Taylah,” Sexton writes. “So we need to get behind him and give him the best possible chance to beat this.”
Tongue Cancer Prevention
Many people might not know that tongue cancer, which is often categorized as a "head and neck cancer," is associated with HPV, the human papillomavirus. Fortunately, people can get the HPV vaccine that prevents against HPV-related cancers starting as young as nine years old.
"We recommend strongly that children are vaccinated against HPV to prevent cervical cancer, but also to prevent head and neck cancer," Dr. Jessica Geiger, a medical oncologist at Cleveland Clinic Cancer Center, tells SurvivorNet. "Now the key with the vaccine is that you received the vaccine before you ever reach sexual debut or have sexual encounters. So that's why these vaccines are approved for young children ages 9, 10, 11 years old, up to 26."
HPV is spread through sexual contact, and the virus is more prevalent than you might think.
"HPV is a virus that's actually very well spread throughout Western society,” Dr. Gieger says. “Fortunately, for the majority of us, over 90%, we clear the virus without ever knowing that we were exposed."
But in 6% or 7% of the population, the virus stays “dormant in our body."
"And over time, meaning decades after we were first exposed, the virus gets into our DNA, and likes to settle in the tissues of the cervix or the back of the throat, and can ultimately cause changes that form cancer."