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Vascular disease caused by radiation treatment of neck cancer.

montdoug
Posts: 5
Joined: Mar 2004

I'm a 6 year survivor of squamous cell carcinoma of the left neck with unknown primary. Treatment involved boo-coo radiation and chemo as well as a radical neck disection.
Recently I've come up with a new way to get attention. In the last several weeks I'm told I've had a total of 5 strokes. Vetebral arteries in the back of the neck are the culprits and I'm hearing they think the radiation I had is the primary cause in conjunction with slightly elevated blood pressure.
As with my cancer I feel I've been blessed to be in as good a shape as I am considering what you think of when you say 5 strokes, but it is frightening. In truth possibly more so than the cancer. My cancer moved at a steady definable pace, these hit like a Louisville Slugger.
Is any one else aware of this as a by-product of radiation therapy to the head and neck?
If it is indeed a long term effect perhaps it's something to keep an eye on for those with elevated blood pressure, even a little. I'd never heard of it till now.
Thanks. Doug

TereB
Posts: 288
Joined: May 2003

Hi Doug,
I have a glomus jugulare tumor in my head, mets on neck and along spine. I've had radiation in head, neck, spine and hip area. Never had chemo. My tumors are very vascular but I never had problems with blood pressure. The only danger of stroke for me was during surgery. My blood pressure has always been normal, more on the low side so I do not know if that would make a difference. I am a bit concerned with the possibility of strokes due to radiation on vertebrae since I have so many tumors along the spine and had had radiation several times for that.

I am very glad you beat the squamous cell carcinoma and I hope it never comes back or causes you any problem.

I've never heard of this side effect of radiation and I find it frightening as I have had so much radiation I think I glow in the dark.

If it is high blood pressure, I hope they can fix it. Please let me know what happens.
All the best,
TereB

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