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Cancer: Throat Message Board
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Old 06-01-2005, 02:18 AM   #1
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throat cancer and radiation

My grandfather has throat cancer (just a little and not from smoking) and is supposed to start radiation soon. The doctor felt that since there was just a little cancer that radiation would be better and also safer do to his age.

How is radiation given for throat cancer? What is it like? He doesn't know what he'll have to go through yet and I'm curious (and worried) about it.

Does anyone know what it's like? Would anyone like to share their experiences?

 
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Old 06-01-2005, 06:48 AM   #2
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Re: throat cancer and radiation

I am sorry to hear about your grandfather. There are several recents threads on this subject, you may want to do a search...alot of good stuff! Anyway my friend had radiation to both sides of the neck. It was not painful, but after several weeks, grandfather may have what is like a sunburn on the outside of his throat. Swallowing may be difficult and he may need boost or ensure for nutrition. Please check with the doctor about saving his salivary glands, the dry mouth after treatment can be permanent and it seems to be the toughest side effect to deal with. Eating & sleeping without saliva is hard.Anyway there are mouthwash type medications he can use as well as cremes & salves for the skin. It is no picnic but can be done. Being there for him will be a big help! If I can help anymore, just ask! Hope everything goes well for him!God bless!

 
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Old 06-01-2005, 09:54 AM   #3
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Re: throat cancer and radiation

Hello. I also have throat cancer and had surgery but 2% is left. I already saw the Oncologist but there is a problem with my biopsies between the pathologist and my ENT so I will need another biopsy next Tuesday and then begin treatments.

Let me see. I will tell you all I know so far. First there is the "simulation." This is the first apt. when you have the mask poured to protect all areas of the face other than the treatment area. A wet mesh is draped over the face while lying down of course and then a fast setting plaster of paris is poured over it and allowed to set. it is then removed and the rest of the stuff they use is then put over the mold and you have your mask.

Now you lay on the actual table you get your treatments on and the mask is put on your face and bolted to the bed. They then make marks on the mask and on the treatmebt area and do C scans I believe they are called to make sure the rads are pointed exactly where they want them.

My O says I will get a sore throat and burns on the outside of my throat simular to a bad sunburn but side affects vary with each patient. it is important to see a dentist if you have any cavities because radiation will completely destroy any teeth you have that are alread decaying. He says there are creams and meds for all side affects and as they crop up I will get perscriptions to relieve them. I will have to stay out of the sun unless I wear a hat and slather on plenty of sun screen. My throat may begin to get sore within two weeks/ 10 treatments.I will have one treatment a day for a total of 33 with weekends off.

Bill has helped me so much as he has gone through this himself. Perhaps he will stop in and fill you in on his experience. I will pray for your Grandpapa and for his comfort and healing. Tell him to try and take one day at a time and not to worry. he is in the hands of God as always.
Blessings,
Barbara~
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Squamous Cell Carcinoma/ vocal cords/ /T1/NO/MO/surgery/Radiation x33/completed 8/09/2005

Last edited by MistyBlueEyes; 06-01-2005 at 10:00 AM.

 
Old 06-01-2005, 06:56 PM   #4
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Re: throat cancer and radiation

Hi, ibb87.

I'm Bill, and I had throat cancer treated by radiation in 1996. The cancer was confined to my right vocal cord, and hasn't recurred in the 8+ year time span since.

Barbara has described the process well. After the preliminaries, you go to the treatment center daily, lay down on the x-ray table, are masked, and get about a 30 second radiation treatment. After a number of treatments, you get a sore throat, a raspy voice, occasional heartburn from radiation impinging on the esophagus, and a medium rare cooked neck. These are all temporary nuisances, and will go away. At least they did for me.

Where is your grandfather's cancer located?

It's time consuming to have 33 treatments over 6 to 7 weeks, and then monthly checkups for about a year afterward. But the treatment was effective for me, for which I am very grateful. I hope it will be effective for your grandfather also.

Bill

 
Old 06-01-2005, 10:41 PM   #5
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Re: throat cancer and radiation

Thanks for the replies.

Is there a way to save the salivary glands? How is it done? I think my grandfather just started treatment this week, I'm not really sure. The doctors never mentioned anything about the salivary glands to him. I wonder what else they failed to mention.

I think the cancer is on his vocal chords. His voice is already raspy and low and treatment hasn't or barely just started! It should be interesting to see how he handles any voice problems because he loves to talk talk talk.

 
Old 06-02-2005, 05:43 AM   #6
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Re: throat cancer and radiation

Bill can get to you on the sheilds and such but as for the raspy voice its part of having the cancer itself. My voice has been hoarse and raspy for a year now. My doctor was a baddy for not sending me back to the ENT long ago. If his voice has not always been raspy then it will most likely return to normal sometime after the treatments.

Blessings,
Barbara~
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Squamous Cell Carcinoma/ vocal cords/ /T1/NO/MO/surgery/Radiation x33/completed 8/09/2005

 
Old 06-02-2005, 07:58 AM   #7
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Re: throat cancer and radiation

I don't know of any shields to protect the salivary glands. As far as I know, there are shots or medication he can take.If you like, I can get you the name of the medication.The doctors failed to mention this to my friend also, we found this out by reading things concerning squamous cell when he was already in tx.After tx also when he was having soooo much trouble with drymouth.The side effects are different for everyone but I think the most common are:dry mouth, raspy voice, trouble swallowing,lots of phlegm and sun burnt type skin.Bill, can you think of anything else?My friends cancer was stage4 so the tx was very aggressive, this may not be the case for your grandfather. Hope this helps!God bless!

 
Old 06-02-2005, 08:36 AM   #8
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Re: throat cancer and radiation

The oncologist talked to me about the salivary glands beforehand, and indicated that I was fortunate that they could be saved. I really didn't realize how fortunate till I was reading these boards..

I don't specifically know what they did to keep the glands out of the line of fire. I thought it was a matter of masking the right places, but don't know for sure.

At any rate, I feel extremely fortunate about the whole thing.

Best to everyone.

Bill.

 
Old 06-02-2005, 02:09 PM   #9
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Re: throat cancer and radiation

Just got off the phone with another friend of mine also in the middle of radiation fo rthroat cancer. She's getting the shots I mentioned in my previous post to protect the salivary glands. She says its called Amifostine.It does cause a upset stomach in some people but its worth a try. God bless!

 
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