My uncle was diagnosed with a stage 2 tumor that extends from a swelling on the front of his throat all the way to his spine last week and found out today that he will be going through a 20 hour surgery next week for it's removal. Six years ago he was diagnosed with throat cancer as well, which was treated with radiation. Four years later, the cancer returned and he underwent a neck dissection, more radiation, and creation of a tracheostomy, and his doctors did not find any signs of cancer in the remaining nodes. Now, his doctors told him that this is a very aggressive, new form of cancer. So, this surgery they are going in and removing his esophagus, the tumor which extends back to the spine, and all remaining vessels and nodes. They will be grafting skin from his legs and forearms to reconstruct his blood vessels and esophagus.
My questions are, what kind of prognosis do patients with recurrent neck cancer, in new forms, have? What complications should we be looking for with the creation of a new esophagus? He was told he should not expect to talk again after the procedure, is there anything we can use to communicate soon after? And, what kind of pain control should he expect, as he is anticipating a lot of pain. Basically, how can he find a way to not feel powerless at this point?