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Post Treatment Recovery Questions

LT1043
Posts: 1
Joined: Oct 2007

Hi I am new to this board and I am looking for some information regarding post treatment recovery. My mom was diagonsed with head/neck cancer back in June and since then has had 1 tonsil and several lymph nodes removed and has undergone Radiation Therapy and several weeks of Erbitux treatments. I am very happy to say the surgery went extreamly well and she handled all 6 weeks of the treatment without any issues and didnt miss a day. No PEG tube she has managed on soft/liquid diet (lots of ensure) and only lost 15 pounds (just a note she was 15-20 pounds overweight initially). The docs are a bit amazed at how well she has done, which is always a good thing to hear. Ok, now here is where we need some input, after her last day of treatment, she developed a really bad rash/burn all over her neck and chest. Shes really itchy and sore, and generally very uncomfortable. Shes using Aqua-phor which helps but the itch is driving her nuts. Has anyone experienced this after treatment and how long should it take for the rash/burn to heal, or at least be less annoying. I appreciate any information that you may have.

cuzzy
Posts: 15
Joined: Sep 2007

I had five weeks of radiation to my neck in '03 and had a total neck resection this May and six weeks of radiation which ended in early August...although the first treatment in '03 was a very low dosage and the treatment this year was very high, both times the area treated became severly burned. The first time I used aloe and a prescription the oncologist gave me, this time I started with Aqua-phor as soon as the redness began. So although I never got itchy this time, my skin was so tight it felt as if my head would fall off when I turned it...it will subside...continue with the Aqua-phor. I think we continued to use it for at least four weeks post radiation, which was when the burns finally were no longer an issue. The "sunburn" will go away...I think how badly it feels depends on how soon you started using the cream. I too had no PEG tube, but have had several setbacks with "real" eating and still get most of my calories from Ensure and yogurt and apricot nectar...good luck...

jkinobay's picture
jkinobay
Posts: 247
Joined: May 2007

I am a left tonsil cancer diagnosis metastasized to a lymph node, left neck. Lymph node removed. Had T&A, found Squamous Cell Carcinoma in the tonsil and the lymph node. I am half way through 35 IMRT treatments and Once/week Cisplatin. My Rad Oncologist recommended Pure Emu Oil for skin therapy pre-treatments and post-treatments as well. So far it is working well. I know it is working because there were 2 spots that I did not know were in the treatment zone. They were on opposite sides of my neck where it curves out onto my shoulders. I had not been treating those two and in week 2 started developing liquid-filled blisters, itching, burning. I immediately started the Emu Oil and within36 hours the blisters were gone. Other support group members here in Tucson also touted Pure Emu Oil. You may want to give it a try.

launicahog
Posts: 6
Joined: Aug 2007

It sounds to me like a rash from the Erbitux (cetuximab). Do a Google search for this and you should find a good deal of information about the rash. The upside is it is a good indication the Erbitux was effective if you develop the rash.

BugHunter's picture
BugHunter
Posts: 152
Joined: Oct 2007

My radiation oncologist took me off of AquaPhor and prescribed silver sulfadine (sp?) cream. The aquaphor just moistens where the cream heals. It is what they give burn victims to heal and dry burns. It worked great for me, but as I post this I am 15 days behind you so I imagine the worst of the itching is over for her by now anyhow. Hope this helps!!

Bill

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