my husband who is 43 was diagnosed 4 months ago with a high grade parotid cancer. He was told that the only effective treatment was surgery (with removal of ear, facial nerve and jaw). At this point he was told that chemotherapy would be ineffective for this type of cancer and that radiotherapy wasn't possible in view of the extent and volume of the tumour. After the biopsy everything got worse: sentsation of electric shocks in his face, deafness, pain in ear. He was told that on reflection the tumour was inoperaple as it had infiltrated tissues as far as the carotid artery. Therefore there couldn't be a "margin". Instead they suggested that he followed a 6 week course of chemotherapy (F5U + folinic acid) - 24h a day, 1 day a week for 6 weeks. He supported the treatment very well at first but got very nauseous towards the end. He has just finished his 6 weeks. He now has nose bleeds, sore gums, stomach pains... But we are hopefull that these symptoms will soon go away. Something strange though... the ends of his fingers have blackened. Has anyone experienced this after chemo?
I have to say that we are very hopeful and optimistic that the chemo has helped because even I can see that the lump in front of his ear has decreased significantly in size. He will have an MRI scan in a week's time and we will know then if he can now be operated on or at least have radiotherapy treatment.
It is a very scary. We would love to hear from other people who have undergone these treatments for parotid cancer to help us to understand what we can expect. Please share your experiences with us...