Bob Cancalosi

Leadership Consultant,
Retired from General Electric after 31 Years,
Survivor of Pleomorphic Adenoma;
Lexington, MA

Bob has faced decades of major health challenges with pleomorphic adenoma, a rare type of salivary gland cancer. In 1978, at the age of 18, he had a parotid tumor removed from his neck and seven years later more recurring masses required surgical removal. He also underwent 33 rounds of radiation for 2 months to shrink more tumors.

The effects of the treatments are long-lasting, and Bob sought treatment for facial paralysis. He then began Nucala injections to offset adult-induced asthma from the radiation and chronic sinusitis.

In 2017, another tumor was diagnosed as a rare salivary duct carcinoma, which was removed during a 12-hour surgery, requiring him to spent 21 days in the intensive care unit to recover. He had a platinum weight sewed into his right eyelid, and unfortunately, due to blood clot issues, Bob then underwent extensive leech therapy. Following this, MRIs were required every six months to monitor progress.

In 2018, Bob underwent 33 rounds of Proton Beam therapy and chemotherapy to eliminate the microscopic residuals. The following year, due to damages to his ear from radiation, a painful open wound behind the ear required three separate surgeries to close:  a pericranial flap, supraclavicular flap as well as a gracilis muscle transplant in which all 3 surgeries failed. Through this process, Bob received 2 months of intravenous treatment for severe blood infections. Finally, after 30 Hyperbaric Oxygen treatments to help close the open wound, Bob began to heal. He then began vocal cord injections to help improve his speech as his right vocal cord was paralyzed from the extensive radiation.

Bob continues to experience extensive pain from the radionecrosis, along with permanent right ear hearing loss, severe tinnitus, balance issues from a partially radiated cerebellum and ongoing ear drainage and infection issues from the exposed bone in the ear canal. He also takes antiseizure medications for the pain. After 22 trips from Wisconsin to Massachusetts, Bob has moved to Lexington, MA to be closer to Massachusetts General Hospital.

Bob has recently started physical therapy to improve his overall balance issues and has also launched the Mending Crooked Smile Fund on his website at, Proceeds go to Massachusetts General Hospital to enhance the patient experience. Several years into remission, he is doing well, despite the ongoing side effects, and has become an HNCA Ambassador to help others facing head and neck cancer.

To request Bob for your local event, please contact us at or complete the online form.

1-866-792-4622 (HNCA)

Kristi believes dentists can be a resource for early detection by conducting a thorough mouth, jaw, and throat examination upon every visit. “While the dentists couldn’t have prevented cancer, they possibly could have been a great resource for early detection. This could have saved my husband from going through such grueling treatments.”Kristi Mason
Caregiver to Husband, Stage III Throat Cancer Patient

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