Navigating a complex treatment process

Bill Watrous

Perhaps no type of cancer better demonstrates the need for multidisciplinary care than head and neck cancers. Bill Watrous has taken this journey and come out on the other side. Here were the mileposts along the way:

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In late 2019, Bill is diagnosed with cancer of his left parotid gland, a major salivary gland in front of the ear through which critical nerves run.

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The tumor is discovered to be the size of a softball. It surrounds his ear and is growing toward his spinal column and his eye.

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Three teams of surgeons representing head and neck oncologic surgery, head and neck reconstructive surgery and facial plastic reconstructive surgery conduct 15 hours of surgery.

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After his initial surgery, which partially reconstructed his face using tissue from his left thigh, Bill starts a six-week regimen of chemotherapy and radiation.

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Bill undergoes two more surgeries: the first to replace the skull bone killed by the radiation and the second to continue restoring facial movements that were lost when nerves and muscles in his face were removed during his initial surgery.

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Today, Bill shows no signs of cancer. He’s spending time with his family and enjoying splitting time between Surfside Beach, SC, and Rhode Island.