Marty's Journey

Tests Show Sparkt Founder Still Cancer-Free

Doctor sees no signs of HPV-related throat cancer in 6 month scan

Great news Monday for the founder of Sparkt, radio and TV personality Marty Griffin. A CT scan, six months after his last cancer treatment, shows that he remains cancer free! Marty will have scans every three months for at least his first year post-treatment to make sure his human papillomavirus-related throat cancer hasn't come back.

Sparkt's cameras were rolling when Marty's UPMC radiation oncologist, Dr. David Clump, walked Marty and wife Kristine Sorensen through the results:

Some key points from today's appointment, aside from the fact that Marty is still cancer free:

  • Marty's epiglottis ( a flap in the throat that keeps food from entering the windpipe and the lungs) is still slightly swollen which could be responsible for the throat pain he continues to experience.
  • A scan of Marty's chest shows some lung inflammation caused by things he's eating "going down the wrong pipe." Marty is doing swallowing therapy.
  • Marty reports about 40% salivary function, caused by radiation damage to some of his salivary glands that were close to his throat tumor. Dr. Clump says those glands that were spared are working to take over function, but Marty will never have 100% salivary function.
  • Marty's taste buds are regenerating (they were also damaged by radiation and chemotherapy) and should be back to near normal in a year. Marty says he still has very little appetite and Dr. Clump says that's a combination of low saliva and little taste.

Dr. Clump considers Marty cancer free because there are no signs of the disease, but says two years out will be an important milestone. "90-95% of head and neck cancers will re-occur within two years if they're going to," he explained.

Marty and Kristine reflected on the day's good news and the journey to Marty being cancer free:

Click here to read and and watch Marty's cancer journey in a special collection of stories on our website.

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