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Survivor Story: The Right Team for the Fight

June 2, 2020
Matt Streenz
Survivor Story: The Right Team for the Fight

The Right Team for the Fight
Matt Streenz

For a long time, Matt wasn’t sure what was going on with him. A few years ago, he started feeling some pressure on his tongue. He went to an Ear Nose and Throat doctor who decided he needed his tonsils out. Still, he felt pressure.

Next came a CT scan, then a biopsy; still, nothing. Time passed, and he spent years trying to find a reason for the pressure. Still, no reason could be found.

WORKING TO FIND A CAUSE
A while later, he discovered a lymph node that had “popped up”. He took one more trip back to the doctor where he was given an antibiotic. But the drug had no effect on the lymph node. Matt’s doctor was concerned and decided to take another look.

On a follow-up visit, Ear Nose and Throat specialist Dr. Thomas Kelly took a flashlight and saw a bleeding spot in the back of Matt’s throat. He knew it wasn’t a good sign.

After a nasal endoscopy, Dr. Kelly sat Matt down with a look that said, “Dude, I’m so sorry.” He gave him the news: “It’s sarcoma of the tongue and it’s probably moved to a lymph node.” A biopsy confirmed it was cancer.

ON THE ROAD TO HOPE
Matt explains, “this is where the CCC comes in. I was introduced to probably my favorite person on the planet, Tate.” Tate was part of the team that handled Matt’s treatment, including confirming that Matt had a Human Papillomavirus (HPV) cancer.

That’s why it was missed. This cancer starts as a viral infection and can take years to transform into cancer. The study of HPV cancer is a relatively new field and doctors are still learning about it.

Matt spent seven weeks in radiation treatment. He notes, “It was interesting because the whole time was like a pump-up session from the staff. I had very good emotional support.”

Today, Matt has been cancer-free for two years. Faith and family helped pull him through. Of the Community Cancer Center, he concludes, “I just knew they had this. I had confidence we could win the fight.”

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