Mouth Cancer Action Month

Laura was diagnosed in May 2019 with advanced stage 4 SCC (Squamous Cell Carcinoma) in the tongue. The tumour, which she has nicknamed Larry, was 5.5cm long and 1.5cm wide, meaning unfortunately her tongue could not be saved and she underwent a total glossectomy, leaving only 5mm of tongue behind.

At first she was told she would never talk unaided again, have a permanent tracheostomy in her neck, and a permanent feeding tube which was devastating news.

"I was such a foodie after working as a chef and training up as a baker. How was I going to live without a tongue? How would I cope with never speaking? What life would I lead? I worked as a recruiter, and was talking to people all day every day."

But after getting a second opinion, she found out she wouldn't need a permanent feeding tube after all, and there was a chance she would be able to talk after her surgery. She was then treated at the Royal Marsden hospital in London.

"I was really fortunate enough to be invited to join an immunotherapy trial, keynote 689, where I would be given the immunotherapy pre and post-surgery. I also had radiotherapy and chemotherapy. As my cancer was aggressive, I was given a very high dose of radiotherapy. The side effects are not great and I did often wonder whether or not I would get through this.

Laura has also written a cookbook filled with recipes tailored to mouth cancer survivors called Eating With Confidence.

"With the love and support of my friends, my medical team, and support groups, I was not only able to get through the treatments and side effects, but I was able to learn to talk and eat again. I used my cooker knowledge to understand how to adapt recipes so that they would help me learn how my mouth now works. I discovered that I still have some taste buds as they are not limited to just the tongue."

Laura has also taken to raising awareness of mouth cancer online and has thousands of followers on her various social media platforms. 

You can find Laura on: