Commissioner Julie Carson Diagnosed With Rare Form of Cancer 

Commissioner Julie Carson. Photo credit: Carina mask

City Commissioner Julie Carson has been diagnosed with a rare form of salivary gland cancer and will undergo surgery to treat the condition in mid-March.

 Carson announced her illness in a recent Facebook post:

 My next few months will be spent at U of M Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center in Deerfield Beach & Miami to treat a rare Salivary Gland Cancer - Acinic Cell Carcinoma of the Parotid Gland,” Carson wrote. 80% of these cancers are benign,Yours is not, said the Doctor.  Of the 20%, yours is the rarest of the rare. Surgery is scheduled for March 15. Lets get started.

Carson, who was first elected to the Commission in 2010 and was re-elected to another four-year term in 2016, is determined to meet the challenge head-on. 

The main treatment is surgery. If it has spread any, the secondary treatment is radiation,” Carson said. 

The surgery is tricky because all the facial nerves pass through the parotid gland, which must be removed, she explained.

Her surgeon will remove the gland, separate all her facial nerves and return them to her face by placing them in tissue that will be removed from her stomach, Carson said.

I hope she is generous in tummy tucks and facelifts,” Carson quipped.

Carson said she noticed a small lump in her face about three years ago, but it didnt bother her and her doctor was unconcerned. But a year ago it began to grow, became sore and caused slight facial paralysis, she said.

Carson began to research the symptoms online and correctly self-diagnosed her own condition.

It was very clear what it was when I found it. I went to the doctor and said I have a parotid tumor. I went to a specialist, and had a MRI and then a biopsy in January,” Carson said. It is a slow growing, non-aggressive type of cancer. 

She expects to spend only a night or two in the hospital and then recuperate at  home. 

I have a wonderful city family and wonderful friends and am so blessed in so many ways,” Carson said. This will be another experience and journey in life I havent had. Obviously I will handle it because I have been given it.

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