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Thread: What to expect from radiation to the throat?

  1. #1
    Regular User
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    Jul 2011

    What to expect from radiation to the throat?

    My mom is going into her second week of radiation to the throat for throat cancer. Please can anyone tell me what to expect? When will she most likely begin to have a sore throat and how awful will this get? She is having a feeding tube placed tommorow morning. Has anyone had this procedure and how sore can she expect to be afterwards? This is precautionary at this point as she has not had pain in the throat yet and is still eating. She finished 5 rounds of chemo and radiation to the lung area for lung cancer in September. We almost lost her due to bleeding in the lungs at the tumor site. they say she responded very well to the lung treatments and so now we are treating the throat cancer. please if anyone can help me to see what she can expect to face it would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Top User april51's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Ginnylynn, I don't have throat cancer but lung. Radiation can get real hard. That is why they are placing the feeding tube. Rad even close to that area makes it hard to eat. There may be pain due to the rad. They will most likely be one step ahead and will prescribe something. Know that it doesn't last forever and relief comes when it is over. a

  3. #3
    Administrator Top User Didee's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    NSW Australia
    I had rads to upper chest and half way up throat. My radiation was for lymphoma.
    I didn't have many problems..bad sunburn type burning and the throat from hell. For me it made eating very difficult, chewed every mouthful a thousand times and had to swallow in very small increments. I was advised to gargle and swallow soluble panadol or asprin 20mts before eating. It helped.
    The bad throat started a bout 2 weeks into it and a couple of weeks after..all in all about a month.

    Having a feeding tube though means she will not have to deal with the eating issue I guess. Bypassing all the eating with a tube instead would I think be easier but I have never had one so I can't really say.
    Aussie, age 61
    1987 CIN 111. Cervix lasered, no further problems.

    Years of pain, bleeding, women's plumbing problems. TV ultrasound, tests, eventual hysterectomy 2007, fibroids in lining of Uterus.

    Dx Peripheral T Cell Lymphoma stage 2B bulky, aggressive Dec/09.
    6 chop14 and Neulasta.
    Clean PET April/10, 18 rads 36gy mop up. All done May 2010
    Iffy scan Nov. 2011. Scan Feb 2012 .still in remission.Still NED Nov 2012.
    Discharged Nov 2014.

    May/2012. U/sound, thyroid scan, FNB. Benign adenoma.

    Relapse Apr 2016. AITL. Some chemos then on to allo transplant. Onc says long remission was good. Still very fixable.

    SCT Aug 2016

  4. #4
    Regular User
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    Nov 2011


    my mom is on week three of radiation to her neck. Along with chemo 1 time per week.
    At the end of week 2. She began to experience pain in her throat. Swallowing is a challenge for her now and she is basically eating purees and soups. Her taste buds are heightened right now and she has a lot of mucous in her mouth which grosses her out.
    My mom refused the feeding tube. Even though they put them in place because they know swallowing can be a challenge the thought of this really irked her and she insists she will fight through this.
    Her pain meds were just given and she has also been given magic mouth wash and antibiotics as she also has mouth sores from the radiation. I would suggest you get that magic mouth wash as soon as possible. My mom had to suffer a weekend without it in a lot of pain and this does help ease her pain a great deal when she uses it.

  5. #5
    Regular User
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    Apr 2011
    My brother had radiation treatment along with 3 rounds of chemo for his stage 4 tongue cancer. According to the radiation technician he got the maximum dose for over 30 days. He refused to have a feeding tube in the beginning but after the 2nd chemo, we knew he had to have it. He couldn't eat anything. Not eating enough food made him much more miserable with chemo. It was very hard to watch him. He didn't like magic wash. He took antibiotics, rinsed with salt water and took hydrocodone. When hydrocodone wasn't enough (the pain was back after 2 hours), his chemo doctor gave him a patch which was a very powerful pain med and also a narcotic. It helped a lot to control the pain, but he ended up having the side effects: depression and insomnia. The good doctor didn't tell us (more like even he didn't know) that my brother shouldn't stop using the patch abruptly. It took a couple of weeks to wean off the side effects.

    That was July and August. My brother went back to work in Nov. and removed his feeding tube last month. He is still in recovery mode. His mouth is dry and he needs water and special mouth wash constantly. He's seeing dentist more often. We don't know how much he'll recover. They said it takes about 1 1/2 years to recover as fully as it's going to get. He still has some soreness but now free of any prescription pain meds. He can eat some spicy food but not as much. We are still taking one day at a time.

  6. #6
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    Jul 2011

    16 of 37

    Day 16 of 37. Thank you all so much for your replies. Mom had the feeding tube installed and thus far has not needed to use it. She just began with a sore throat over the last couple days and the thick saliva as of this week. She is enduring. So far pretty good. Knock on wood. Her WBC is very low and the radiologist said that they would check her counts again on Thursday and possibly hold off on Friday's treatment. She is at 1.4 right now which concerns me greatly. She was to have her 2nd chemo this last Monday but the Onc. said we would hold off till next week in hopes of getting the WBC back up.I am wondering if this is so extremely low why they aren't stopping the Rads before Thursday. I will definitely ask the radiologist to get some of that magic mouthwash on her list of meds. She says she is not having difficulty swallowing yet but I fear it will come soon enough. Please keep the prayers coming and all the advice I can get is appreciated. thanks so much


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