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Thread: Last day of treatment

  1. #1

    Last day of treatment

    My brother, 64, had his last day of radiation treatment for throat cancer yesterday. It has been tough watching him go through 7 weeks of hell. He has lost 70 pounds and is on Oxi and fentinyl patch for pain and I expect this will continue for some time as he heals. My prostate cancer was a piece of cake compared with this treatment. He worked hard to continue to swallow his protein drinks and water throughout to avoid a feeding tube. He has had high praise for the treatment and care he has received at Dana Farber in Boston. It will be months of recovery before he is back to normal and I hope he gets his sense of taste back completely and foremost, he is cancer free.

    BD 1950
    DRE in 2005 showed right lobe enlarged/hard
    Biopsies in 2006 and 2009 both negative
    Biopsy May 2013 positive 1 of 14 cores
    4+3=7 T2a. PSA 2.9
    daVinci surgery 7/17/13 by Dr. Dennis LaRock
    Final pathology 7/29/13
    Tumor size 1.5 cm
    PC found on both lobes (biopsy indicated one)
    T2b Gleason 4+3=7
    Negative margins
    first post surgery psa 8/30/13 undetectable
    second post surgery psa 11/23/13 undetectable
    18 month post surgery psa 2/17/15 undetectable
    5 year post surgery psa 3/20/18 undetectable

  2. #2
    Moderator Senior User IndyLou's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Indeed, the recovery time for H&N cancer patients from radiation is measured in months, not weeks or days. It sounds like your brother is receiving good pain management--he should take something to keep the bowel movements going while on the narcotics, if he's not already.

    It's also good to hear he's been swallowing and exercising those throat muscles, despite losing so much weight. Introducing non-liquid foods will be a challenge, particularly if he had any grade of oral mucositis. My tongue was red and swollen, and very sensitive to a lot of flavors. Furthermore, the lack of chewing, and atrophy of the jaw muscles make eating food a chore. Your brother should experiment to see what gives him calories, but will also taste decent to him.

    And speaking of taste, he'll notice that foods won't have much taste, or things he used to eat all the time, will taste different. Saliva production will be down for a while, but it will get better. In the meantime, he'll need a bottle of water to wash down whatever he eats..

    Best wishes for your brother, and please ask any questions, and keep us posted on his recovery..
    Age 52 Male
    early Feb, 2013 - Noticed almond-sized lump in shaving area, right side of neck. No other "classic" cancer symptoms
    late Feb, 2013 - Visited PCP for check-up, PCP advised as lymphoma. Did blood work, orders for CT-scan, referred to ENT
    3/7/13 - CT-scan inconclusive, endoscopy negative
    3/9/13 - FNA of neck mass
    3/14/13 - Received dx of squamous-cell carcinoma, unknown primary
    3/25/13 - CT-PET scan reveals no other active tumors
    3/26/13 - work/up for IMRT
    4/1/13 - W1, D1 of weekly cetuximab
    4/8/13 - W1, D1 of IMRT
    5/20/13 - complete 8 week regimen of weekly cetuximab
    5/24/13 - Complete 35-day regimen of daily IMRT
    mid-July 2013 - CT-PET scan reveals no active tumors, but shows necrotic tissue at site of original tumor
    early Sept 2013 - partial neck dissection to remove necrotic tissue. Assay shows no cancer present.
    Spring 2014 - No signs of cancer
    Spring 2015 - NED
    Spring 2016 - NED
    Spring 2017 - NED
    Spring 2018 - NED
    Spring 2019 - NED


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