Thanks to immuno-therapies, Red Deer resident Jason Kom-Tong, 35, is seeing positive results after a devastating cancer diagnosis.
The father of two has been battling stage four cancer and last year was given just months to live.
But immuno-therapy treatments in Vancouver are showing very promising results, explained his wife Bambi.
“Jason is back and forth between Vancouver and Red Deer,” she said. “And the immuno-therapy is for sure working.”
Doctors have said all the cancer on his face is gone.
“He also had two cancers in his neck and they are gone. Or they are small enough that they aren’t showing up on the CT scan.”
Also, the cancer at the base of his skull has shrunk.
“It’s really good news,” she said, adding that immuno-therapy was expected to primarily just halt the progression of the cancers.
“I’m feeling excited,” she said. “Jason is doing really good – his attitude has improved ten-fold. He’s got more energy, he’s up and about. He’s playing with the kids again. He’s able to make his own breakfast and things like that.
“For us, that’s a big thing.”
Jason was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma or tongue cancer.
He and his family are also hoping he can eventually travel to Arizona for specialized treatment, but it’s costly. They are trying to raise about $175,000.
Bambi added the round of immuno-therapy treatments are wrapping up in May, so that’s about when the family would like to begin further treatments in Arizona.
It was back in 2006 that Jason first noticed an unusual mark on his tongue.
In 2008, it started to change shape and move closer to the front of his tongue. A biopsy was done, which came back negative.
Another biopsy was done in 2009, again with negative results.
In 2011, he went for another as the sore wasn’t healing, and in fact was becoming more painful. In 2011, it became like a persistent cut that pretty much always hurt.
A biopsy was done in Vancouver.
At that point, it was called dysplasia which is described as a kind of pre-cancerous condition.
Over the next while, his conditioned worsened. More tests were done and a cancer diagnosis was confirmed in 2013.
Jason had major surgery in November of 2013 as well, as doctors removed part of his tongue and essentially replaced the cancerous part with muscle from his arm.
He then underwent 33 sessions of radiation and three sessions of chemotherapy.
Last May, they discovered cancer had returned to his mouth and had also spread to his jawbone.
A second surgery was done to remove his tongue (glossectomy), and again re-build it using his own muscles and then permanently attaching his new muscle to the floor of his mouth.
Last September, he had sores on his face and learned they were cancerous as well. They had also metastasized into his blood stream.
Doctors have also since told Jason there is nothing more they can do for him. But he and Bambi weren’t and aren’t about to give up the fight.
Through research, they learned of a facility in Arizona called the Envita Medical Centre where one of the treatments includes a chemotherapy that zeros in on the precise affected area.
It’s estimated he would need to be at the facility for about four months to receive the treatments which also include more immuno-therapies, nutritional therapy and detoxification therapy.
These days, the couple is grateful at the support they’ve received from the community.
“It’s just really amazing that a whole community came together – Red Deer as a whole – and really shown their community spirit.”
For more details about how to support Jason and Bambi, visit http://www.gofundme.com/hdrsdw.