Potato chips lead woman to cancer diagnosis

Woman's obession with chips leads to cancer discovery
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Woman's obession with chips leads to cancer discovery 01:34

Story highlights

  • A Washington woman is diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma after eating a bag of chips
  • In 2015, about 39,000 people in the United States were diagnosed with throat cancer

(CNN)A Washington woman is praising her daily snack for helping her discover a cancerous tumor.

Kristine Moore says she has been eating Ruffles potato chips for the last 20 years. The Marysville, Washington, resident packs them for lunch every day. In February, while she was munching on her faithful snack, she felt a sharp pain as a chip poked the back of her throat.
    She asked her husband to look inside her mouth. "He said, boy, your tonsil looks very red and swollen," Moore told CNN affiliate KIRO.
    The next day, she went to the doctor, suspecting that she was coming down with a cold. However, after a test for strep throat came back negative, her doctor decided to biopsy the swollen tonsil. Moore had throat cancer.
    "It's called squamous cell carcinoma on my left tonsil," Moore said.
    In 2015, about 39,000 people in the United States were diagnosed with throat cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. Depending on the type of cancer, treatments can entail surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.
    Squamous cell carcinoma has a strong correlation to tobacco use. Moore said she was a smoker for years before quitting shortly after her diagnosis.
    In 2010, legendary NBA coach George Karl was diagnosed with the same cancer on his right tonsil. He recovered and continued coaching. But for film critic Roger Ebert, who was also diagnosed with head and neck cancer, the outcome was different. Ebert suffered complications from surgery that left him disfigured and without the ability to speak. He passed away in 2013.
    For Moore, her outcome is more positive. Her doctors said her cancer was caught early. Now she will begin radiation and chemotherapy treatment.
    "The potato chip was a blessing in disguise," Moore said. "I probably wouldn't have found out another year."
    Potato chips are not an at-home cancer test by any means or even a healthy snack. A trip to the doctor for an annual check up could have caught this cancer as well.