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Complications from Radiation - Mouth/throat/feeding tube

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Old 05-06-2008, 08:01 PM   #1
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RoseEm HB User
Complications from Radiation - Mouth/throat/feeding tube

I had intensive radiation for nasopharengeal cancer from December 2007 to early February 2008. During this time, I also received chemo - Cisplatin, Carboplatin and 5FU (Fluorouracil). Along the way, I had to have a feeding tube inserted and eventually lost the capacity to eat at all.

I still am having problems with any sort of food (soup, popsicles, yogurt, cream of wheat...). When I attempt to swallow, I experience an intense burning of tongue and throat. It's incredibly difficult for me to swallow and choking is a common occurence. I've been treated for mouth sores and thrush and those seem to have cleared up, but the other problems remain.

I'm terrified that I'm developing some sort of aversion to eating. My oncologist doesn't seem terribly concerned and keeps telling me it's probably from the chemo, which I just finished about 3 weeks ago. I want to "blame" the radiation, since its target was the back of my neck through the throat.

Has anyone experienced the same or anything close?

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Old 05-13-2008, 08:37 AM   #2
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lbp35 HB User
Re: Complications from Radiation - Mouth/throat/feeding tube

i'm sorry u are going through this. My friend had throat cancer and received chemo & radiation also. He couldnt swallow or taste for months after tx. It just took time for his throat to heal. He also lost his salivia which has slowly come back. I'm not a doctor but my guess is it's from the radiation and will take time to heal. Hope this helps!

Old 05-17-2008, 09:43 AM   #3
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RoseEm HB User
Re: Complications from Radiation - Mouth/throat/feeding tube

It does help, thank you. I saw my radiologist who said the same thing. "After all we've put you through, it just takes a long time to heal." Guess I'm not as patient as I think I am!

Old 10-16-2009, 11:22 AM   #4
Join Date: Oct 2009
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slsmith HB User
Re: Complications from Radiation - Mouth/throat/feeding tube

I experienced something similar 20 years ago, when under treatment for a St IV soft-tissue tumor in my right shoulder and related joints. I did not have the additional side effect with my first chemo, (cisplatin or adriamycin, and something else I have forgotten), but after radiation started on my throat I would get severe burns in my mouth and throat, directly after chemo but before neutropenia would start. I was in RICU a couple of times, and they treated the burn pain with class I contact anest. I was unable to keep anything down for the duration. My Oncol. (director of Cedar Sinai Cancer Cnt), indicated to me that throat radiation can cause problems with certain chemo. Your cancer could also contribute to this problem. The cells in the lining of the throat are very quickly dividing, so like the digestive system and the circulatory system, it has more problems tolerating the therapy. Your doctor should look at treating the throat pain, and observing for respiratory distress. You sound like you may be on the top of the side effects curve, so there may be a limit to how much it can be improved. My doctor shifted my radiation slightly so there was not as much overlap factor, and I did not have as much trouble in future sessions, so if you are finished with chemo, you may just get better from here, especially if you never had breathing difficulty. I wouldn't worry about eating long-term, I discontinued chemo before I was finished because I dropped under 80 lbs, starting 125, I was fine slowly starting eating after treatment. Best of luck and hang in, you're over the worst.

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