Colleen Zenk-Pinter Diagnosed with Cancer

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Colleen Zenk-Pinter PictureAs the World Turns fans have known that something wasn't quite right with Colleen Zenk-Pinter for a few week. Her speech has been slurred and many have wondered if the longtime actress suffered a stroke.

She hasn't. But the As the World Turns has been diagnosed with oral cancer.

The news came as a surprise to the 54-year-old star, who doesn't smoke or drink, two of the biggest risk factors for oral cancer. She is, however, a carrier of the human papilloma virus (HPV), the virus that can cause cervical cancer in women. Recently, doctors also linked HPV to oral cancer.

"I was so lucky that it was discovered as Stage II cancer," Pinter said. "[The doctors] were able to treat me and perform the surgeries on me that still enabled me to have use of my tongue. And I still have my taste buds. It's a very, very invasive kind of procedure."

Over the course of three separate surgeries, half of Pinter's tongue had to be reconstructed.

"I want to thank the fans for the love and support they have sent my way these past months," Pinter said. "You will never know how much your kind words and encouragement have meant to me. Today I am cancer-free, but my disease is with me every second of every day.

My tongue is hard, lumpy, laced with scar tissue and often covered with painful blisters. It affects my speech, how I eat, how I drink and how I kiss my husband. Yet, I am lucky."

After being diagnosed in March, Pinter is now happy to announce she's cancer-free. And we're happy to report that news.

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

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Colleen, I am a fellow oral cancer survivor. My cancer was located inside right jaw,maxillary area. Please e-mail me. Nancy St Myers