This medical video focuses on ways to combat tongue Cancer.
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Jennifer Matthews: Days like this with her family make it all worthwhile for Ruth Toseland. Three years ago, Ruth was diagnosed with tongue cancer. A portion of her tongue was removed, but the cancer came back. Ruth Toseland: Sometimes, I don't remember some of it because I was so sick. Jennifer Matthews: After two more surgeries, she opted for an extreme treatment -- radiation combined with chemotherapy. Dr. Julie A. Kish: After surgery, usually patients would get just radiation therapy. Jennifer Matthews: Doctor Julie Kish was involved in a national study that may change the treatment of choice for patients at high risk for recurrence. Dr. Julie A. Kish: At two years, the recurrence rate was lower in patients that had the combined treatment as opposed to radiation alone. Jennifer Matthews: But the treatment is very hard on the patient. Researchers say 4 of the 228 patients in the study died as a result of the combined therapy. Still, Doctor Kish says, for some, the tough approach is worth it. Dr. Julie A. Kish: If you can prolong the time until the cancer comes back, which potentially, at some point in time, it may not come back, which we never say because we can't predict that, it's worth going through it. Jennifer Matthews: Ruth finished her treatment two and half years ago. So far, the cancer has not returned. Michael Toseland: We've got a lot to be thankful for. It was touch and go for a long time. Jennifer Matthews: And even today, in a friendly game of catch, you can see the competitive spirit that helped Ruth make it this far. This is Jennifer Matthews reporting. it is that the cancer will come back. The first two years are the most risky.