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throat squamous cell cancer

kasichoely
Posts: 1
Joined: May 2009

I am getting radiation treatment, had 2 so far, but before treatment, I have to prep with 2 tylenol, nuausea medication. steroid, and bendryal and then 1 hour later, I get injected in the arm, with some medication, I believe it has something to do for salivary glands, but it has been making me sick. Has anyone had this treatment? My radiation is imrt. Also getting some red spots in throat. Any information you have would love to know. Thanks,

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

I received seven weeks of radiation treatment for tongue/neck cancer, and prior to each treatment, I elected to receive two shots of Amifostine (sp?), specifically to save my salivary glands. My doctors were non-committal about the usefulness of this medication, and so left it up to me. That may be the shot you are getting in your arm. I say this because it is KNOWN to cause nausea in many folks. I was one of the fortunate ones who did not have that problem.

You should, frankly, be aware of everything they are treating with you (this is the pot calling the kettle black, as I went through it rather in a fog myself, at least at first). Do NOT be afraid to ask. Be curious. You may, in this way, some day actually prevent them from giving you an incorrect medication or an incorrect dosage... it happens!

Re the red spots, I cannot even hazard a guess. I will advise that you be sure to do some post-radiation therapy of your own, by using an ointment like Biofene (prescription, I believe) or, aquaphor, or even natural aloe, to help prevent damaging burning of skin. I recommend this HIGHLY, and that you apply it ritually after every treatment (talk to rad doc first, of course, to get his okay). Be sure that you DO NOT use a petroleum-based product, as these will hurt more than help, from what I've been advised.

Good luck!

Take care,

Joe

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heschie
Posts: 38
Joined: Jun 2009

soccerfreak
My husband has had 13 treatments of rad. he has 17 left and he is already taking water everywhere he goes did those shots work for you because they have never been offered to my husband
Thanks for all your help
Linda

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

Somehow I missed this earlier, Linda.

As I indicated in my original response, the doctors were (and are) ambivalent about the usefulness of Amifostine (sp?). My doctors were (and are) among the best, other than my rad doc, frankly, and they shrugged their shoulders: do it, you never know. That sort of thing.

I do have salivary action. Is it because of the meds? I can't say. I simply wanted to do everything I could that might have a chance of saving whatever we could save.

I know that doesn't help much. I would suggest that you ask your ENT Doc and your rad doc about this medication, its usefulness, and its potential side effects (it is notorious for nausea although I didn't have that problem).

It is to be hoped that over the passage of these last three years or so they have better data about its usefulness in this regard.

Best wishes to you and hub and you family.

Take care,

Joe

macdru123
Posts: 2
Joined: Jun 2009

Hi, My brother has just finished his first week of 7 weeks of radiation and chemo. He has SCC with unknown primary which has metasized to his lymph nodes. The pet showed some very small hot spots but the camera in his throat, subsequent biopsies and the CAT showed nothing. He was not offered amophostine, but after researching it on this site and others we had the Dr. prescribe it against his wishes. He said he saw no correlation with the drugs and the results and that the side effects were not worth it. The second day of radiation he received chemo and the third day about 4 hours after his shot of amophostine, he passed out cold, so they immediately discontinued the amophostine and don't want him to go back on it, but it is up for discussion. I was wondering if there was anyone out there who could help us make an educated decision. Obviously, he won't go back on the drug daily, but perhaps a few times a week the weeks without chemo. The radiation oncol and the regular oncologist both want him to stop and they say that he will get some salivary usage with the IMRT. The rad oncologist says that his parotid gland will be destroyed on one side no matter what because it is close to the cancerous lymph node. How is everyone tolerating the radiation? How are effects after the treatments and what kind of salivary glands do you have with the IMRT. Does it make a big difference that his primary is unknown, so maybe they want to fry the whole area. Any advice from anyone would be so appreciated. I do realize these are discussion for the doctors, but I think that there first objective is to kill the cancer, and they are not really so concerned with the quality of life after.
Thanks.
A

naturenaw
Posts: 26
Joined: May 2009

I second the aquafor after the radiation treatments. I had 30 treatments for my throat cancer and the aquafor really helped for the burns on the outside of the throat. If your red spots are on the inside, they can give you different mixes of "magic mouthwash" to try. Magic mouthwash would give me a few moments of relief at times. Aquafor on the outside burns definitely helped lots but don't put any of the creams on right before your radiation treatments - I think they tell you this. I had imrt too. I didn't get anything else injected but did take a small dose of ativan that would relax me since I would get very anxious being confined and strapped down like that. I was extremely nauseas and tried all kinds of remedies throughout, but I was having chemo at the same time too so I always thought that was the nausea culprit for me. Talk to your dr. about the nausea - they have lots of options to try (phenergan, ... I don't remember all I tried) If it helps any to hear it - I am 4 years post-treatments and I can even sing now (I didn't say I could carry a tune, just that I am healthy enough to sing!)I hope you'll be singing about all this and soon too!

Artray
Posts: 24
Joined: May 2009

When we were about 2/3 through the 7 weeks of radiation my husbands neck became really damaged on both the right and left sides at which point they told us to stop using the aquafor and gave us 'Biafine' to use which is supposedly when the radiation damage becomes really bad. I had to buy him new t-shirts that were v-neck and then to tape the sides to the shoulder's so they wouldn't touch the pussy areas...it was so messy. We tried to clean it up daily and then started using the Biafine ALOT, every couple of hours (although the directions said 3-4 times a day). After we finished radiation we continued the Biafine and the skin cleared up within 3 weeks but the pain was still there for at least 3 months so he continued using the Biafine along with Aloe Vera jelly and now that we're 4 months out he says he can rub the areas without pain although they still itch quite often!
As for the Magic Mouthwash, I think there's various recipes for the mix of that. Husband took it twice and it burned so bad he's refused to try it again and since he can rely on the feeding tube it hasn't been an issue!

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

I would caution that even if hub is not feeding himself orally (through his mouth), he should make every effort to continue chewing, that is, opening and closing his mouth and moving it in various directions, even if only as an exercise. In fact, he should consider it an exercise. Daily routines to keep the jaw and other facial muscles working will make him really happy down the road, when he is able to eat again.

He should also do his best to get back to feeding himself orally at the earliest possible moment, if that is going to be possible. Even with the sores, it may be possible to get some yogurt down, for example (which is also an excellent aid to digestion). Your radiation doctor or nutritionist would probably agree that the sores are in fact the result of what is, in essence, a yeast infection, believe it or not.

I do not know the extent of your husband's treatment or pain, so I will not suggest more than that, but yogurt is a great, nutritious, and healthy starting point, even if washing it down with water is a rather bleak but necessary proposition.

Good luck to hub, and best wishes to him and his family.

Take care,

Joe

pmfennell's picture
pmfennell
Posts: 28
Joined: Jun 2009

Hello, I am new here, but was very interested in your post. I went through 20 weeks of radiation in combination with Chemo weekly in small doses, then 2 regular doses. I used a sedative to relax me prior to the radiation tx as well because I did not like being strapped down. I had 7000 Rads to my throat and have lost total function of my salivary glands. Injections were not offered to me, but if they had been I would have tried them. I was a teacher going to night school to be a Psychologist and had to cancel both careers as I can not speak for long periods of time or tolerate cold. I go to Fl. every winter because of my throat. My docs have me on Oxycocodone among other pain killers to tolerate the throat pain due to throat dryness. Hang in there with the injections, if they will save your Salivary glands they are worth it. Your docs. should be able to give you anti-nausea medicine to combat this. I was lucky in that I had no nausea through therapy. I was put on a trial drug to combat chemo induced nausea and it worked. Hang in there and keep asking questions about post treatment outcomes and what you can expect for your throat condition.

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