Mum who lost half her tongue in cancer fight has new one made from her leg

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A mum had half her tongue removed in a battle with cancer and made a new one from her leg.

Cameron Newsom, 42, from Colorado, America had been living a normal life with her young family before her freak cancer diagnosis.

After a years-long ordeal, Cameron was able to have her tongue replaced by skin and muscle tissue from her thigh.

Cameron's first cancer scare came after she developed two white spots on her tongue.

However, the spots weren't painful and when the results came back negative for any signs of cancer, she was told not to worry.

Then months later though, Cameron's tongue became sensitive and sore which marked the start of a living nightmare.

Straight away Cameron contacted her dentist who gave her antibiotics to combat any potential infection but her condition continued to worsen.

The original spots had transformed into a pinkish tumour on the left side of her tongue and after being referred to an ear nose and throat specialist, Cameron was diagnosed with skin cancer of the tongue.

Cameron said: "At the time of my diagnosis I'd lost over seven pounds because I was unable to eat or drink.

"It took three years from when the first spot originally appeared for doctors to finally diagnose me.

"When I was told, it seemed like I was being handed a death sentence there and then, but straight away my reaction was; I'm ready to fight this.

"I was 33 at the time and in very good shape, so I couldn't understand why this was happening to me."

Cameron's diagnosis came in May 2013 and she then scheduled in for three rounds of chemo and by the end the tumour had shrunk a considerable amount.

But the next part of her recovery was to have the tumour completely removed.

By this point, Cameron's tongue was in tatters.

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She flew to a Cancer Center in Texas and eventually went under the knife, with oral and plastic surgeons worked together to remove the left side of her tongue.

In what was a nine-and-a-half hour operation, they then replaced that part of her tongue with skin and muscle tissue from her thigh.

Cameron said: "They usually take skin from your forearm, but I’m only five foot two, so I didn’t have enough skin on my forearm to replace what I was having removed.

"However, I've been an athlete all my life, and there was plenty for them to use from my thigh – so that's what we decided to do.

"The oral surgeon removed part of my tongue, and the plastic surgeon took muscle and skin from my thigh to replace it.

"The next few weeks were hell because my mouth was so swollen I couldn't swallow or breathe unassisted."

For nine weeks after her surgery, Cameron underwent extensive treatment to rid of any remaining cancer cells.

For six months, she couldn't speak and had to use a tube inserted in her stomach to eat and drink.

Cameron now likes her tongue but had to relearn how to speak, chew, drink and swallow.

She said: "I can only taste on the right side of my tongue which is the real side, and only chew on the right side because the left is attached to my gums.

"My manners are terrible because food sometimes just falls out my mouth."

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  • Family
  • Cancer

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