Marty's Journey

Today's News Is "As Good As It Gets"

At his 3-month check-up, Marty's PET scan shows he's cancer free for now.

Marty and Kristine got the great news they were hoping and praying for today. Marty's 3-month PET scan shows he is cancer free for now!

As we reported earlier today , the PET scan, done at UPMC Shadyside Hospital, was considered the first real opportunity for his doctors to assess Marty's situation following three months of chemotherapy, radiation and immunotherapy treatment for Human Papillomavirus-related throat cancer. Marty was diagnosed with HPV-related cancer last August.

Marty says he and Kristine were "in tears" when radiation oncologist Dr. David Clump told them the scan shows no signs of the tumor at the base of his tongue. A nearby lymph node is also clean. "We don't see a progression anywhere else in the body," Dr. Clump told Marty, who was practically giddy with joy and relief at the news (check out today's post-scan video to see just how giddy Marty can get!)

While the official results won't be available for a couple of days, Dr. Clump is confident in his assessment that Marty's cancer is gone.

"This is about as good as it gets." Dr. David Clump, Radiation Oncologist, UPMC Hillman Cancer Center

Marty will continue to get scans every three month for the forseeable future. "If (cancer) is going to come back we watch very intensely during the first year or 18 months," Dr. Robert Ferris told us on the final day of Marty's treatment , October 29. Ferris is Director of the UPMC Cancer Institute. "That's the time in genetics that even when the tumor has gone away at the end of treatment, within a year those tumors will manifest themselves," if they're going to come back he explained.

In the meantime, both doctors urged Marty to continue to try and get back to normal, which has been difficult . His ability to eat is slowly starting to come back. He's been able to taste simple foods, like vegetable soup. "That's going to continue to improve. It's slow," counseled Dr. Clump. Marty's sore throat should also soon go away as an ulcer where his tumor once was finishes healing.

Dr. Ferris told us back in October, he hopes Marty will live as if every day is a blessing and not worry about the cancer coming back. "Every day you wake up and the tumor isn't there and you get closer to one year and two years, which is when 90 percent of those tumors are going to show themselves," the closer you get to being considered cured, said Dr. Ferris.

Marty is just grateful to be cancer free for today, and grateful for the medical staff, like Dr. Clump, who treated him. "In my life i have never met anyone so kind and compassionate. I'm proud to know you," said Marty as the two men embraced.

"For now we're free," Marty rejoiced as he and Kristine left the hospital. "Cancer free honey!"

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