Stephen McPherson is a survivor of this horrible cancer and in 2015 when Stephen was first diagnosed with Squamous Cell Carcinoma of a HPV origin. However, public awareness for Head & Neck Cancer both in Western Australia and Australia as a whole was very low in fact non-existent outside of the medical profession. Fast forward to 2018 and Stephen had his second bout of Head & Neck Cancer, unfortunately it came back very aggressively and resulted in Stephen losing 90% of his tongue and 100 glands from his neck.
Following the extensive operation and chemo radiotherapy Stephen searched for support to help him get through this. But unfortunately there was no support available in Western Australia. Despite raising this with a number of organisations nothing was done. If there is a problem and nobody will do anything about it – solve it yourself. Stephen started both the Western Australian Head & Neck Cancer Support Foundation and the Perth Head & Neck Cancer Support Group.
The purpose of the Perth Head & Neck Cancer Support Group is to help anyone who has just been diagnosed, is going through treatment or is dealing with the many side effects of the treatment. People can attend a meeting or start a conversation on our Facebook page about their experiences and it is done in a safe and positive environment.
Both Medical and Allied Health professionals attend meetings so that they can learn about this cancer from those living with it. From time to time they are asked to make a presentation to enhance those attending’s knowledge on how to deal day to day with this cancer and the side effects.
Stephen wrote a detailed book (The Second Encounter) on his journey with Head & Neck Cancer detailing everything including emotions, diagnoses strategies and what he did before, during and after the operation. Stephen detailed health issues that he had after leaving the hospital and up to 18 months post surgery. Great book to help understand what happens.