Peter Tork of the hit 1960’s comedy show the Monkees announced March 3, 2009 that he was diagnosed with Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma. This cancer is a rare form of head and neck cancer most frequently found in the salivary glands, but in Mr. Tork’s case, on the lower portion of the tongue.
Tork rose to fame in 1966 as a member of the TV show The Monkees, which was patterned after the popular “A Hard Day’s Night” starring the Beatles. Tork and the three other actors recruited for the show were all members of other bands or had performed musically prior to the show. Tork was already a well-respected artist in the New York Folk and Blues scene. On their first release, the group provided primarily vocals and their premier song “Last Train to Clarksville” was a chart topper before the show even aired. Despite their popularity, or perhaps because of it, some early detractors felt their band was inorganic or manufactured.
Today, the irrepressible 67-year-old Peter Tork is bandleader of the blues-rock band Shoe Suede Blues. He stated on his website about his cancer, “It’s a bad news, good news situation,” explains Tork, “It’s so rare a combination (on the tongue) that there isn’t a lot of experience among the medical community about this particular combination. On the other hand, the type of cancer it is, never mind the location, is somewhat well known, and the prognosis, I’m told, is good.”
Though tongue cancers can arise in any person, it is most commonly found in patients with an extensive history of tobacco and alcohol use. It is slow growing in nature and usually treated with surgery, possibly followed by radiation and or chemotherapy. Frequently, a lymph node dissection is performed on the side of the neck where the tumor is presented.
Tork’s surgery, performed March 6, 2009, reportedly went very well and he is recovering in good spirits. Tork retains his trademark cheerful attitude, positive about his condition and his future. “I am extraordinarily grateful, amazed and humbled by the encouragement, affection and support I’ve received so far,” Peter says of the reaction from friends and family.
Information from Oral Cancer Foundation internet site:
NEW YORK, April 3, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Popular recording artist, actor and former member of The Monkees, Peter Tork , who is himself an oral cancer survivor, is urging Americans to get screened for cancer during the 15th annual Oral, Head & Neck Cancer Awareness Week® (OHANCAW®), being held nationwide April 22-28. More than 200 sites throughout the country will offer free oral, head and neck cancer screenings during OHANCAW, which is sponsored by the Head and Neck Cancer Alliance (HNCA). Information about the free screenings and local sites can be found at www.headandneck.org
He was diagnosed in March, 2009 with adenoid cystic carcinoma (ACC), a relatively rare cancer that typically occurs in the salivary glands, on the lower part of his tongue. Following surgery to remove the tumor and courses of radiation, Mr. Tork was declared free of any detectable cancer.
“Fortunately, I am grateful to say my cancer was detected early enough for me to undergo successful surgery and follow-up treatment,” said Mr. Tork. “I encourage everyone to get screened for oral, head and neck cancers by taking advantage of the free screenings offered during OHANCAW at hundreds of local facilities throughout the country. Early detection and treatment can improve outcomes. Get screened and increase your chances for living a full and healthy life.”
“When oral, head and neck cancers are diagnosed early, these potentially deadly diseases can be more easily treated without significant complications, and the chances of survival increase,” said Terry Day , MD, President of the Head and Neck Cancer Alliance. “Many Americans do not recognize the symptoms of these cancers, which underscores the importance of everyone getting screened properly, not just those at high risk such as tobacco and alcohol users.”
This information comes from PR Newswire:
Medical centers throughout U.S. will take part in 15th annual OHANCAW®, April 22-28
Tobacco and alcohol have been the leading substance that puts a person at high risk. HPV infection is now associated with oral cancer effecting people who have never been drinkers or smokers/chew ect…
Even if you don’t consider yourself in a high risk group screening is available and affordable. Dr. Artemenko screening cost $29.00
Its proven the common factor of oral cancer survival is Early Detection
Stories from the internet, links provided, comments from:
Robin with Dr. Artemenko