Dustin Hoffman’s Silent Victory Over Cancer Will Inspire You

Thanks to the availability of vintage films like The Graduate and Kramer vs. Kramer on streaming services like Prime Video, Netflix, and Hulu, some of Dustin Hoffman’s best-known films are regaining popularity.

Though not many fans are aware of it, Hoffman, who is currently 83, also survived throat cancer.

Some celebrities opt to fight cancer in secret, while others use their illness as a chance to spread awareness. It is important to accept this decision as it is highly personal.

Hoffman’s representative Jodi Gottlieb told People in 2013 that although Hoffman kept his illness a secret, “it was detected early and he has been surgically cured.” By then, he was seventy-five.

Hoffman performed the part of an unemployed actor in the 1982 film Tootsie who transforms into a woman in order to further his career. Sydney Pollack, a director, served as his agent.

Gottlieb continued, “Dustin is feeling great and is in good health,” but he would not elaborate. People said that the two-time Oscar winner intended to have “doctor-recommended preventative treatments to minimize the chance of a recurrence in years to come.”

Three years prior to Hoffman’s declaration, Michael Douglas bravely revealed his 2010 diagnosis of throat cancer in a film for the Oral Cancer Foundation, explaining how the HPV virus may cause the illness at a time when the virus was still stigmatized.

Hoffman hasn’t discussed his struggle in public yet, but he still works.

Presumably because of the epidemic, his most recent job, which he played opposite Candice Bergen in As Sick As They Made Us, is still listed as pre-production.

We will always be appreciative of his incredible body of work even as we wait for anything fresh. In addition, we would be remiss to overlook his 1995 film Outbreak, which attracted new viewers in the midst of a nation dealing with a real-life pandemic.

Throat cancer and HPV
Fewer people are aware that HPV can cause malignancies of the mouth and throat, even though many are aware of the link between the virus and cervical cancer.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), alcohol and tobacco use can also cause cancers in the back of the throat. However, new research suggests that up to 60–70% of these cancers may be related to HPV, says Dr. Jessica Geiger, a medical oncologist at Cleveland Clinic Cancer Center.

According to Dr. Jessica Geiger, throat cancers brought on by the HPV virus have greater chances of recovery than cancers linked to tobacco use.

Positively, Dr. Geiger notes that throat tumors linked to HPV are typically highly amenable to chemotherapy and radiation therapy. “The cure rates for people who have HPV-related disease are a lot higher than those who have tobacco-related throat cancer.”

Throat Cancer Symptoms and Signs
In a prior interview with SurvivorNet, Dr. Geiger stated that “the most common symptoms for throat cancer are a painless neck mass that the patient may just feel when they’re shaving or washing their face.”

“Oftentimes, we have patients who are referred from their dentist’s office,” she said. “They’ll notice a sore that doesn’t seem to be healing, or a wound that is on the inside of their mouth or around their teeth. Then, we set the patients up with a biopsy to confirm cancer or to show something else and we proceed from there.”

“Sometimes it’s painful, but a lot of times they don’t feel anything except just a lump there,” said Dr. Geiger. “Their doctors often then will order imaging such as an ultrasound of the neck or a CAT scan and we can see the mass there.”

Options for Throat Cancer Treatment
“In early-stage throat cancer, the cancer is confined to just what we call the primary tumor in the back of the throat or the tonsils, or the base of the tongue,” stated Dr. Geiger.

Hoffman received his first movie part in 1967’s The Graduate at the age of 29. His film career took off after the picture gained him immediate stardom.

“But if the PET scan shows that the cancer has moved to the lungs or the liver, then our approach would not be to cure cancer but to treat it and to keep it under control,” she says. “It’s really complicated because there are three stage 4s. It’s not like breast cancer where, once you’re Stage 4, you’re incurable,” she continues.

“In more advanced throat cancer cases, which is actually the most common stage that we see,” she continues, “in addition to the primary tumor, lymph nodes of the neck are involved.”

“Patients who have disease that has spread outside of the head and neck region, meaning below the clavicles, into the lungs or into the liver, we call that distant metastatic disease and by definition, those patients are considered incurable,” she says. “So our efforts at treatment would be focused on palliative therapy, controlling the disease but, unfortunately, not curing it.”

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