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Dolly7 11-29-2008 09:35 AM

Neck and Throat Cancer
My husband was diagnosed with neck and throat cancer last month. He underwent surgery to have the cancerous lymph nodes removed and they determined that it originated at the back of his tongue. He is scheduled for radiation therapy and chemo with cisplatin. We have a lot of questions about how "bad" it's going to be. My husband is worrying about how much weight he might lose. The doctor told him that if he loses 20 pounds, they will insert a feeding tube. He really doesn't want one but is wondering if he should get on ahead of time (just in case). The doctor said it would be better if he got one before therapy started. We would like some feedback from someone who has undergone this procedure. Is it the nightmare it sounds like it is going to be?

lbp35 12-08-2008 06:43 PM

Re: Neck and Throat Cancer
The treatment is rough i wont lie but there are things u can do.My ex husband had stage4 throat cancer, he was small to begin with so he did have the peg tube inserted.His throat will get very sore&his mouth will get dry making it hard to eat so the tube will help.He needs to bulk up before he starts tx tho.The procedure to have the peg put in isnt painful @ all. its a simple procedure.Radiation is very hard on the saliva glands so try to protect them if possible.Any other questions please ask!!!good luck &God bless! ex is doing great!:angel:

Dolly7 12-11-2008 06:46 AM

Re: Neck and Throat Cancer
Thanks for the info. I'm really dreading the next few months but am optimistic things will turn out fine. My husband has been trying to put on some weight so he'll be stronger for the radiation and chemo treatments. How do you protect the saliva glands? We are counting on the radiation oncologist to take all the necessary precautions. Is there things that we would be doing ourselves? :jester:

lbp35 12-11-2008 03:34 PM

Re: Neck and Throat Cancer
Ur very welcome! The treatment is brutal but it works! There's a pill I think that he can take to protect his glands.I'll try to find out the name of it. The dry mouth was really bad afterwards making eating difficult.He had to carry a bottle of water with him all the time which is a small price because he is alive but if it can be helped I would try it. He wil have a bad sore throat also which there is an rx called "magic swizzle" which can help some with that.His doctor or dentist can help him with that. too. Has he talked to his dentist? Not sure if the doctor told you but he should see his dentist before he starts radiation.Just make sure he gets alot of calories now and he will get though it!!! He will need your support cause it can be hard emotionally also.Do you mind if I ask how old he is and what stage is his cancer???? ;)

Dolly7 12-12-2008 06:23 AM

Re: Neck and Throat Cancer
My husband is a healthy 61 year old. They said his cancer is a stage III because it traveled from somewhere in the back of his mouth to his lymph glands. Since they removed the lymph glands, they can only find a tiny spot on the back of his tongue that still has cancer cells. Because it's such a small area and we caught it quickly, I think he'll be okay after the radiation treatments and chemo.
We saw a dentist to have his teeth checked prior to starting treatments and he said John's teeth are in good shape so he doesn't need any work right now. He fitted him with trays for fluoride treatments and wants him to continue them for the rest of his life because he said his saliva will never be the same. :(
Our Oncologist doctor hasn't mentioned anything about a pill to take for the saliva glands but I'll ask today when we see her. I'll also ask about the "magic swizzle" for his throat. Thanks for telling me about them. I can't tell you how great it is to have someone to talk to who has been through this. It helps so much. Doctors answer our questions but we don't know all the questions to ask. Thanks again

lbp35 12-15-2008 06:04 PM

Re: Neck and Throat Cancer
Ur very welcome! Ur hubby sounds like he is in good hands with u and his doctors. Thats good news that his teeth are in good shape. My ex was 37 when diagnosed and had alot of crowns and bad teeth. He had to have them all pulled before he started treatments.:( It was very rough for him. He was stage 4 b which is about as bad as u can get. He had 9 lymph nodes with cancer in them and also the primary was his left tonsil. The doctor didnt want to do surgery first because it would have left him disfigured.He had 35 rounds of radiation and 3 rounds of chemo called cisplatin.Cisplatin is one of the few chemo txs that u can have and still keep ur hair(in some people).My ex didnt loose his @ all except on the back of his neck where the radiation hit. The biggest problem he had was weight loss & dry mouth.Also couldnt taste for a few months. Was unable to eat bread for a good while.Everything had to go down with water.ALWAYS carried a water bottle. That is ALOT better now, salivia can come back in some people.He really hasnt gained much weight back tho but there a high calorie drinks u can buy to help with that...he wouldnt drink them:mad:.Please let me kno how the doctors appointment went.Your husband will get through this, just give him lots of support! Take care of yourself too this can be sooo stressful.Thinking of you & God bless!! Will be waiting to hear about his appnt.;)

Dolly7 12-18-2008 06:36 AM

Re: Neck and Throat Cancer
He had his first chemo Tuesday and so far has not had any serious side effects. He felt a little nausea but nothing serious enough for him to feel he needed to take any of the prescriptions he had. Today is his first radiation treatment but we don't expect any reactions yet. They told him that it would take a while for him to start feeling the side effects. The dietician told him to start taking the nutrition suppliments through his tube but he hasn't done it yet. Why are men so stubborn? They are worse than children. At least with children the parent can usually force them to do what they need to do. Thanks again for the support.

lbp35 12-22-2008 10:35 AM

Re: Neck and Throat Cancer
Glad to hear that hubby didnt get too nauseaus.;) And yea it took a few weeks of radiation before the sore throat and dry mouth started.Please tell hubby that he needs all the nutrition he can get, he wants to bulk up now! my ex lost too much weight and never did regain it. He didnt listen either but now wishes he did! Good luck!;)

Dolly7 12-31-2008 03:31 PM

Re: Neck and Throat Cancer
Well, John's into his first full week of radiation therapy and his face and neck are getting red and his throat is drying out a little. He's taking his medication regularly so that he doesn't get sick but he's fatigued a lot. So far, it hasn't been too bad but I know it's going to get worse soon. The doctor said that he will be hurting next week.

His doctor also told us that he would do everything he could to make him comfortable including (if needed) getting him a morphine patch to help with the pain. I also asked about the Magic Swizzle mouthwash and they said they could get that for him too. If his mouth gets too dry, they said he could take "saligen" (I'm not sure of the spelling) to help with that.

Thanks for the support! It's great! Happy New Year!:jester:

lbp35 01-04-2009 07:11 PM

Re: Neck and Throat Cancer
Im sorry you are going through this. i kno the tx is very rough!!! Its going to get harder so have him eat as much as he can now. The dry mouth is bad after so i would take the salagen. My friend had to carry a water bottle with him for about a year after.The salegen tablets werent offered to him. We found out about them after. :angel:Hang in there, keep in touch! Will be thinking of you both!!

Dolly7 02-16-2009 08:03 AM

Re: Neck and Throat Cancer
My husband completes his radiation treatments this week and is anxious to get rid of the feeding tube. How long after your husand completed his cancer treatments was he able to have the feeding tube removed?

lbp35 02-16-2009 12:31 PM

Re: Neck and Throat Cancer
:angel:Congrats on finishing tx!!!;) It took a while for his throat to heal and he was pretty thin so I think he had it in longer than most. I am thinking he finished tx in July and they took it out in November.Another lady I know had the same cancer and hers was taken out shortly after tx (like a month). How is your husband? How is his throat? Is he able to eat? My ex husband had absolutely no saliva and eating was very difficult. He is almost 5 years out:D and is able to eat anything.Its a long healing process but your hubby will get there! Baby steps! God bless!

Dolly7 02-16-2009 05:57 PM

Re: Neck and Throat Cancer
He's feeling okay but is on some liquid pain medication that really helps. He's not eating anything orally - just through the tube. He is trying to drink water everyday so his muscles don't atrophy. We sure would be happy if he can eat again in a month. Thanks for letting me know how it went for you guys! It meant a lot!

lbp35 02-17-2009 11:22 AM

Re: Neck and Throat Cancer
Your welcome. Also measure his recovery by weeks not days.It can be a long healing process;)

yodellkat 05-17-2009 01:10 PM

Re: Neck and Throat Cancer
[QUOTE=lbp35;3838006]Im sorry you are going through this. i kno the tx is very rough!!! Its going to get harder so have him eat as much as he can now. The dry mouth is bad after so i would take the salagen. My friend had to carry a water bottle with him for about a year after.The salegen tablets werent offered to him. We found out about them after. :angel:Hang in there, keep in touch! Will be thinking of you both!![/QUOTE]

Thank you LBP35, we are going through this also and you have helped immensely! yodellkat

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