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The Honorable Ron Barber

Age 69
Tucson, Arizona
Free of Oral Cancer Thanks to Early Detection



I was diagnosed with oral cancer just a few days after election night in November 2012. I was extremely fortunate that my cancer was caught early, at stage 1. This meant that the only treatment I needed was surgery to remove the tumor and that my outlook is very good. My experience taught me that it is vital that you pay attention to what your body is telling you and that you don’t delay getting anything unusual checked out.

It was the fall of 2012 when I noticed what seemed like a blister on my tongue that didn’t heal quickly. I tried a number of topical treatments, but it just wasn’t going away so my dentist sent me to an oral surgeon to have it biopsied.

I received the biopsy results at an extremely stressful time—seven days after election night, which was during the 11 days it took to complete the vote count for my district, the 2nd Congressional District of Arizona.

I immediately contacted the University of Arizona Cancer Center in Tucson, which is one of the country’s premier cancer centers. Fortunately, the center had recently established an ENT [ear, nose, and throat] team specializing in the treatment of cancers like mine, so I felt I was in the best place possible.

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