Real People, Real Stories

Tongue cancer survivor

Larry Latimer

In September of 2003, I went to my family doctor for a persistent sinus infection that would not go away. After a few weeks of antibiotics that did not work, I was sent to an ENT for a check up and another round of antibiotics that did not work. The doctor decided it was time to do a biopsy of my swollen lymph nodes. I was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma with the tumor located at the base of my tongue which had not been readily visible through normal examination.

When I began my treatment of chemotherapy, radiation, and some surgery to my tongue, I was given a CanCare brochure by the hospital social worker with no real explanation of what CanCare was. It was not until 3 years later at a health fair at my church put on by Tommy Thompson that I became familiar with CanCare. As the saying goes, “and the rest is history”.

At my CanCare training, I had no intention of becoming a hospital volunteer but before it was over, I was moved by the Holy Spirit and signed up for 4 different hospitals. I had retired several months earlier and had the time. It has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I remember one of the first patients I met at the radiation treatment center. She was in her 60’s, newly diagnosed with cancer, and dreading what was about to happen. When I introduced myself as a cancer survivor, her whole countenance changed. Hope had overwhelmed her.

The Bible tells us this in Matthew 6: 19″Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.” God gave me a treasure to share when He healed me of cancer. I am doing my best to “store up” as much as I can.

CanCare has been serving people with cancer since 1990.  All services are confidential and free of charge.  To talk to someone surviving your diagnosis, click here.