so my dad has found out more about it and this is what is going on:
As it turns out the pathology report on the tumor indicates that I do have cancer. Specifically:
Acinic cell carcinoma: Most acinic cell carcinomas start in the parotid gland. They also tend to be slow growing. Although they are usually low grade, their grade is not the only factor useful in predicting their outcome. Knowing how far they have invaded into nearby tissue is more helpful in predicting a patient's prognosis.
This is from the American Cancer Society web site which is a helpful site in that it identifies the different kinds of cancers of the Salivary glands and if you try to do much reading on the web, you'll quickly find yourself reading about some other cancer than what I have.
Acinic cell carcinoma, is slow growing
The tumor was small at 1.5 cm
No regional lymph node metastasis (spread) OR the cancer had not moved to associated lymph node on the left side of my face
Not a lot is known about cause(s), but it rarely appears along blood lines of a family (you're all safe:)
In terms of what comes next, I have to heal a bit and then I will start radiation therapy. Unfortunately for me and my doctor I'm his first patient with this cancer. The tumor was resting on a vein and in the V of two branches of the facial motor nerve in the left side of my face. My doctor protected the vein and the nerve by scraping the tumor off of them, this approach leaves a probability that he did not get all the cancer, thus the radiation.
In hind site I had a a stage I condition, which is the lowest risk and thus have an 86% chance of being alive in five years. (: This is because the tumor was small, had not spread to the lymph nodes or any other part of my body. So realistically worst case I'm figuring I still have a decent shot at 60. Mind you many people live for a long time after first diagnosis.
If you have questions I'll be glad to chat but don't know that I'll be able to shed a lot more light. I'm fine and looking forward to seeing you all in the near future.
Love, Dad & Phil
so there is a lot tons of hope. your prayers are appreciated. thanks for the notes.