By Sara Bondell - February 19, 2020
Simon Barney, who was married to Real Housewives of Orange County star Tamra Judge until 2011, has been diagnosed with stage 3 throat cancer.
Barney says he noticed his salivary glands were swollen in May of last year and an ultrasound and biopsy revealed cancer that had spread to his throat, tonsils and lymph nodes.
Dr. Kedar Kirtane, a medical oncologist in Moffitt Cancer Center’s Head and Neck Oncology Program, says throat cancer is usually treated with surgery or radiation with or without chemotherapy, depending on how advanced the disease is. He says the ultimate goal is to cure the cancer and preserve the voice box.
Since Barney’s disease is advanced, he started an aggressive treatment schedule of radiation with chemotherapy for seven weeks. He says although he is experiencing serious side effects, he is staying positive.
“I am a huge optimist; the glass is always half full, not half empty,” Barney told People. “And I’ve always been that way, the cancer just enhanced that…so I stay strong and don’t let this take me down. Because if your attitude sucks—if you start believing, ‘Oh my God, cancer’s a death sentence’—then you’re done.”
Kirtane says there is a higher chance for cure in patients with early-stage disease. “Furthermore, amongst survivors there can still be lingering side effects from long-term therapy so it’s important to keep in contact with the treating physicians to help manage them,” he added.
Symptoms of throat cancer include hoarseness of voice, difficulty swallowing, prolonged ear pain, difficulty breathing or progressively worsening cough.