March 13, 2013

Samuel Villines | Head and Neck Cancer Survivor

“Five years ago, there was a pea-sized spot on my jaw, which over time grew to the size of a quarter. I asked my daughter about it, and she thought it might be a cyst. I thought it was harder than a cyst, so I went to my primary care physician and he took a biopsy. The results came back, and he told me that he thought it was cancer. A biopsy was then sent to Dr. Vural at UAMS. He tested it and said that it was cancer and he would remove it. In 2007, he removed the knot on the jaw and 42 lymph nodes on the right side of my neck.

The surgery took a few hours and was successful. Two weeks later I got a call from UAMS and they recommended that I go through radiation near my home in north Arkansas. I had 32 treatments Monday thru Saturday. To start the treatment they formed a molding of my face, which was a very difficult time for me. I got very sick and malnourished during this time because I could not eat and swallow any food. I finished my treatment of radiation in January of 2008.

I started to go to UAMS with Dr. Vural every three months for a follow-up and he examined my throat and jaw. I had PET scans every three months for the next five years of my life until 2013. I had my esophagus dilated four different times to open it up so that I could properly eat and drink without being in pain.

On February 25, 2013, I was released from Dr. Vural when he said I was cancer free. I am a cancer survivor and now carry my Seed of Hope so that I can tell my story.”

Samuel Villines
Head and neck cancer survivor
Jasper, Ark.