I just had a glossectomy to remove cancer in my tongue and a selective neck dissection to remove 33 lymph nodes. Although my surgical oncologist believes he removed all the cancer and the lymph nodes were clean, the cancer was beginning to spread to the nerves. Because of this, my surgical oncologist is sending me to a radiation oncologist.
I’ve only ever seen the after effects of this surgery and radiation on a 78 year old (my grandmother had the exact same cancer 6 months before I did). The only lasting noticeable effects I’ve seen on my grandmother were a scar from the neck dissection and swelling under the chin from radiation.
The long lasting physical effects of cancer are a huge concern for me; after all of this, I want to look in the mirror and still look like me.
I had a plastic surgeon closed the incision for my neck dissection to minimize the scarring, so my question is: Does swelling under the chin happen to everyone? If so, will it eventually go away? Is there any way to minimize it? I know that these are questions my radiation oncologist will answer these questions, but I would appreciate hearing from someone who has gone through this.