Cancer patient left with hole in face will now lose his teeth

David Whenham, left with a hole in his face after surgery to remove a facial tumour, has learned he...

David Whenham, left with a hole in his face after surgery to remove a facial tumour, has learned he will have to lose his teeth when he goes for surgery to remove a tumour in his upper palate. (DAVID BLOOM/QMI Agency)

Kevin Maimann, Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 10:46 AM ET

EDMONTON -- An Alberta cancer patient left with a hole in his face has learned he will have to lose his teeth when he goes for surgery to remove a tumour in his upper palate.

David Whenham waited weeks to find out if his resurfaced cancer was terminal, and was told Wednesday it can be removed only at the expense of his teeth.

Whenham was toothless for three years after having a facial tumour removed, until a groundbreaking surgery gave him new teeth and new hope in 2012.

“I remember what I felt like back then. It was so exciting to be able to speak well, and to eat. Intimacy was easier. I could smile, I could sort of feel that I was like other people,” he said.

“To lose those teeth again, it’s not something I even considered possible … It was a shock. It seems like we’re back to square one.”

Whenham has an appointment scheduled for Monday when he will learn more details on the surgery. It is still unclear whether he will be able to get any facial reconstruction done.

Whenham has had several surgeries cancelled in the past two years. His sinuses were removed during his initial cancer treatment and his right eye has since stopped functioning. He also lost the bridge of his nose, which requires surgery.


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