The unexpected can unfortunately happen at any time especially with your health. One local patient told KTSM it’s a whole different life after you’re diagnosed.
From one word to the next, Daniel Leyva considers himself lucky to be alive after going through oral cancer.
“Everything was scary. Everything. First it was scary because when they first told me, I just walked in there for a toothache and they told me you got cancer,” Leyva shared, “Oh man.. it was a terrible pain. Very terrible.”
Leyva’s Dentist recommended a Doctor at Del Sol Medical Center who found a large tumor on his jaw, and pushed for a surgery immediately rather than radiation therapy. That surgery successfully left Leyva cancer free.
“It’s a ten hour surgery, but I was asleep. I don’t know nothing. After I woke up I was like man, what happened, and the pain was gone,” Leyva said.
“The surgeries are very interesting to me but generally just being able to provide a need at a time in someones life where they really don’t have any other option or much hope, it is very satisfying. It’s an honor and a privilege. It’s very humbling to be able to do something this unique and what I would consider very special,” Dr. Hans Brockoff with Del Sol Medical Center explained.
Dr. Brockoff said most people wouldn’t normally notice if they may be in risk of cancer, but shared some piece of advice. 
“Maybe there’s a spot in the mouth or an abnormality and since it doesn’t bother you, you don’t seek out care. But it’s when they’re smaller they tend to be more treatable.So early detection is key,” Dr. Brockoff shared.
Leyva now looks at his life much brighter than ever before.
“Life is beautiful brother. You just look at life different. You know, compared what it used to be  It’s different. I mean I got surgery and am still recovering from it but at least I still get to see my grandkids,” Leyva said.
Had Leyva not been referred to Dr. Brockoff at Del Sol Medical Center, he would’ve only had a few months to live.