Celine Dion marked the anniversary of the death of her husband, Rene Angelil, from throat cancer with a touching tribute on Instagram.
“There is not a day that goes by without me thinking about your beautiful smile,” the singer wrote. “We miss you, thank you for watching over us my love. I love you. Céline xxx”
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Il n’y a pas une journée où je ne pense pas à ton magnifique sourire. Tu nous manques, merci de veiller sur nous mon amour. Je t’aime, Céline xx… . There is not a day that goes by without me thinking about your beautiful smile. We miss you, thank you for watching over us my love. I love you. Céline xx…
Angelil was 73 when he died in 2016.
Fans were quick to send their support as the singer heads to Miami on her “Courage” tour.
“The time he had on this earth was blessed with a life with you in it,” commented one.
Fans miss him, too.
“We miss him too! Lots of hugs,” one wrote.
“We all miss Rene. You were the most beautiful couple on earth! You had the most beautiful love story that someone ever would dream to have!” posted another.
After Four Years of Marriage, a Cancer Diagnosis
The couple married in a lavish 1994 ceremony in Montreal. Four years later, Angélil, who was 26 years older than Dion, was diagnosed with throat cancer, according to a report in the Montreal Gazette, after doctors discovered that a lump on his neck was malignant. Rene was treated and enjoyed a full recovery But the cancer returned in late 2014 and, in December of that year, he underwent surgery, in a procedure that removed parts of his tongue.
Angélil is credited with discovering the Canadian superstar and in June of 2014, he stepped down from his role as Dion’s music manager.
Signs and Symptoms of Throat Cancer
“The most common symptoms for throat cancer are a painless neck mass that the patient may just feel when they’re shaving or washing their face,” says Dr. Jessica Geiger, a medical oncologist specializing in head and neck cancer at Cleveland Clinic Cancer Center.
“Oftentimes, we have patients who are referred from their dentist’s office,” says Dr. Geiger. “They’ll notice a sore that doesn’t seem to be healing, or a wound that is on the inside of their mouth or around their teeth. Then, we set the patients up with a biopsy to confirm cancer or to show something else and we proceed from there.”
“Sometimes it’s painful, but a lot of times they don’t feel anything except just a lump there,” she notes Dr. Geiger, “Their doctors often then will order imaging such as an ultrasound of the neck or a CAT scan and we can see the mass there.”
“Typically, a patient who develops a sore on the tongue or a lesion in the inside of the mouth that doesn’t heal, they’ll be seen by their primary doctor first who then will refer them to an ear, nose and throat surgeon or an oral surgeon,” she tells us.
Primary Causes: Smoking and the HPV Virus
Often, throat cancer is caused by HPV, or human papillomavirus, which is the most common sexually transmitted disease. It usually goes away by itself, but sometimes it leads to other diseases.
“The most common type of head and neck cancer is HPV-related throat cancer. So this is cancer that starts in the back of the throat such as in the tonsils or the base of the tongue,” says Dr. Geiger. “The treatment for throat cancer, regardless if it’s caused by HPV or tobacco smoking, is the same. We know that this treatment causes a lot of side effects, a lot of longterm side effects. Difficult swallowing, neck fibrosis or scar tissue so it makes it difficult for the patients to turn their head. There’s a lot of longterm side effects from radiation and chemotherapy that come about.”
Treatment Options for Throat Cancer
“In early-stage throat cancer, the cancer is confined to just what we call the primary tumor in the back of the throat or the tonsils, or the base of the tongue,” says Dr. Geiger. “But if the PET scan shows that the cancer has moved to the lungs or the liver, then our approach would not be to cure cancer but to treat it and to keep it under control,” she says. “It’s really complicated because there’s three stage 4s. It’s not like breast cancer where once you’re Stage 4, you’re incurable,” she continues.
“In more advanced throat cancer cases, which is actually the most common stage that we see,” she adds, “in addition to the primary tumor, lymph nodes of the neck are involved.”
“Patients who have disease that has spread outside of the head and neck region, meaning below the clavicles, into the lungs or into the liver, we call that distant metastatic disease and by definition, those patients are considered incurable,” she continues, “So our efforts at treatment would be focused on palliative therapy, controlling the disease but, unfortunately, not curing it.”