Val Kilmer, 60, is over the moon about the response to his memoir: “I just received a wonderful phone call from my friends at Simon & Schuster. “I’m Your Huckleberry” is an official New York Times best-seller!! It appears to have debuted at #8.”Read More
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Ok, roll call. Whose birthday is it! I’m going in for a virtual hug. Fine, fine. I’ve brought enough love for the whole class. Everyone! Group air hug. Oh, what’s this!? You forgot someone’s birthday!! Well, I have a suggestion. Might you consider a signed copy of my book? It’s guaranteed to add a book to any collection! Stay safe and stay strong everyone. Link in bio ????????
Kilmer was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2016, but initially denied rumors that he was battling the disease. As a part of treatment, Kilmer underwent a tracheostomy, a procedure that opens an airway for patients with obstructed breathing due to throat cancer or throat paralysis. The surgery connects the windpipe to a hole in the front of the neck.
A tracheostomy can be removed once a patient is able to breathe on their own, but in cases where the entire voice box is removed, the tracheostomy becomes permanent. During recovery, Kilmer has embraced other passions including painting and writing, which produced the memoir.
RELATED VIDEO: When Cancer Turned Her World Upside Down, CC Webster Turned to Writing: “It’s Okay That Life Doesn’t Go to Plan”
As many in the cancer community know, art can offer an outlet for the emotions surrounding a diagnosis and treatment. When CC Webster was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma at 25, writing helped her reinvent herself. “As a young adult cancer survivor,” she says, “I learned that we can find beauty in unthinkable challenge. In the video, above, she tells how her diagnosis inspired her two write her book, “So, That Happened, A Memoir,” which, she says, helped her find, “beauty in that process.”
— Good Morning America (@GMA) April 21, 2020
“The Best Way To Cheer Yourself Up”
Kilmer has been posting encouraging messages on social media as the country copes with the coronavirus outbreak. “It’s an extraordinary time for all of us,” he writes, adding, “We know
the strength of America. And that strength comes from each of us, united to do good and reinforce the importance of values and decency. I’d like to share this bit of wisdom from one of the greatest Americans, Mark Twain – “The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up.”
Navigating a Throat Cancer Diagnosis
We don’t know Kilmer’s earliest symptoms, but it’s important to see a doctor when a sore on the tongue or a lesion in the inside of the mouth doesn’t heal. Your primary care physician will likely refer them to an ear, nose, and throat surgeon or an oral surgeon, if the sore looks like it could be an early sign of oral cancer or throat cancer.
Of course, there are times a doctor might be the first person to notice a potential symptom.
Dr. Jessica Geiger, a medical oncologist at the Cleveland Clinic Cancer Center says, while HPV is associated with cervical cancer in women, it can also cause cancer in men.
“Oftentimes, we have patients who are referred to our clinics from their dentists’ office who 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,” Dr. Jessica Geiger, a medical oncologist at the Cleveland Clinic Cancer Center who specializes in head and neck cancer, told SurvivorNet in a previous interview. “Then, we set the patients up with a biopsy to confirm cancer or to show something else and we proceed from there.”
HPV and Throat Cancer
Many people don’t know that Human papillomavirus can cause a handful of cancers, including throat cancer. While cancers in the back of the throat are often caused by tobacco and alcohol, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), recent studies indicate that as many as 60% to 70% of these throat cancers may be linked to HPV, or caused by a combination of HPV, alcohol and tobacco.
“There are no screening guidelines to screen for throat cancer, unlike cervical cancer with pap smears,” says Dr. Geiger. “There are no standard tests to determine if you harbor the virus.”
On the plus side, HPV-related throat cancers are generally very responsive to a combination of radiation and chemotherapy treatments. “The cure rates for people who have HPV-related disease are a lot higher than those who have tobacco-related throat cancer,” she said.