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Radiation how will it affect my tongue repair

jackflash22's picture
jackflash22
Posts: 262
Joined: Aug 2013

I had a tongue /node dissection 7 weeks ago and now I need radiation treatment on my tongue base. The repair was done with the lining of my cheek. How will radiation affect the repair. Will it damage or kill it off, will I have to have another repair, has anyone had radiation after repair and what happened. I hate another dessection. I keep forgetting to ask this question when visiting the clinic.

CivilMatt's picture
CivilMatt
Posts: 2962
Joined: May 2012

JF22,

I had surgery to my neck and BOT, prior to my wonderful 7 weeks of pin point radiation treatment. I went for the deluxe package and shot the works.  Everywhere the PET scan lit up, we zapped (except in my back door, that was something else).  My tongue enjoyed the vacation from eating and recovered well.  All acknowledgements from my ENT have been positive for how fine my base of tongue looks (It is beautiful).

Therefore, I declare no ill effects from rads on my surgery to my tongue.  Now my brain, that is a different story.

Tongue at ease,

Matt

jackflash22's picture
jackflash22
Posts: 262
Joined: Aug 2013

Love your ' tongue in cheek' sense of humour. I thought when I read tonge and BOT. You'd been toppled and tailed........ Thanks for making me laugh.

jackflash22's picture
jackflash22
Posts: 262
Joined: Aug 2013

I have to have IMRT which I've been told targets the cancer every time the rays cross but only hit the healthy tissues once, it goes around you in a circle flashing out these rays, ans crossing over the bad bit...very clever, it's very effective on head and neck. you probably have had it in USA a lot longer than UK. The government has just given the NHS a grant of £30 million to supply other hospitals. I,m lucky with where I live the John Radcliffe Hospital, the Nuffield and the Churchill hospitals are teaching hospital and all have the top of the range treatments and clinical trials. They are all close to each other and specialise in different fields. This is in Oxford. I live about a half hour drive away. I'm still not happy with the mask but know its to keep me perfectly still so the rays hit the spot. 

donfoo's picture
donfoo
Posts: 1239
Joined: Dec 2012

I have to have IMRT which I've been told targets the cancer every time the rays cross but only hit the healthy tissues once, it goes around you in a circle flashing out these rays, ans crossing over the bad bit...very clever, it's very effective on head and neck. 

Jackie,

That is the general theory of how the latest IMRT hardware and software tools work. In practice, the mapping does contour and alter the beam concentration to the areas needing it the most - i.e. the tumors and nodes. However, the radiation will also be "painted" over much of the general area around the tumors to ensure any cancers are fully destroyed. I was told a minimum of 5300 grays were given to all areas and 6500 and 7300 grays to areas needing more rads. 

For example, even if your partoids and tongue look good they are likely going to get 5300, so that is why most have taste and saliva issues even though the tumors may be a distance from these areas. 

The beam can be directed to precise locations but will still "spill" out rads behind the area where the gun is focused. It is a 3D mapping so they will try to point it in ways to avoide other critical organs and such but the rads clearly shoot ahead and behind the concentrated area. That is why everyone ends up with that burnt sunburn thing. The rad beam is entering and exiting your neck area and burning "good" flesh. 

A number of folks also have dental gaurds or blocks for similar reasons - to get your teeth out of the way of the radiation as much as possible. Make sure to ask about protecting your teeth and also parotid glands if possible.

phrannie51's picture
phrannie51
Posts: 3728
Joined: Mar 2012

but thinking back over the last year and a half....it seems that most people had surgery first, then the rads and chemo...and so far I can't think of anyone who had to re-repair everything.  The only reason there'd ever be another dissection is if during a scan after treatment is over, they found a lymph node was lighting up.  My docs told me, that should I show any active nodes after treatment that I'd get to have a dissection of my own.....so far, I've lucked out....

p

Matt....you make me laugh constantly....  "H & N Clinic is open"....hahahahahahaha

Duggie88's picture
Duggie88
Posts: 539
Joined: Feb 2010

I had my epiglodis removed along with part of the base of my tongue. Maybe not to the extent of yours because I am not aware of any grafting done but I noded out for 14 hours so who knows what they did. I had a full neck diesection and did ask the surgeon if he gave me a chin wedgey but he smiled and never answered.

I stand beside Matt and assure you that you will do fine and they will not damage the work that has already been done.

Enjoy the day

      Jeff

MarineE5
Posts: 754
Joined: Dec 2005

Jackflash22,

I agree with the others about the radiation. I was told by my Radiation Oncologist that it is better to have the surgery first and then the radiation as the DNA changes and the healing process increases. When is your Radiation scheduled? My radiation started roughly 8 weeks after my surgery and I did pretty good in the healing part prior to the Rad's. 

Our necks get red from the radiation and the RO wanted to make sure my neck was healed enough not to damage it any more then the Disection did.

My Best to You and Everyone Here

jackflash22's picture
jackflash22
Posts: 262
Joined: Aug 2013

My rad starts in about three weeks. I had the op on the 8th July. Thats what about 9 weeks. I do and don't want to get started because the sooner I start the sooner its over. I'd rather get it done and dusted before the winter sets in..dark mornings, dark evenings, cold foggy and dank. good old UK. I get the downers in winter unles its a crisp sunny day. Even in the summer my mood changes if its dull and cloudy. I like lots of light maybe I will glow in the dark after rad. 

phrannie51's picture
phrannie51
Posts: 3728
Joined: Mar 2012

When I've got something crappy coming down the pike, I want to get on it, and get passed it....don't blame you , either....for wanting it done before winter comes and it's always dark, cold, and wet.  Getting this done in the fall, winter to heal in....when spring arrives, you'll be feeling you entered a whole new world....beautiful, sunny, warm....and it smells so good!

p  

TracyLynn72's picture
TracyLynn72
Posts: 711
Joined: May 2013

 and replaced with a metal plate.  He put a flap in there and basically "made" me new gums from tissue taken from my neck.  Rads burned the inside of my mouth up pretty badly.  I had sores and burns in there but it did zero damage to the work that was done during surgery.  My ENT even told me that he wanted to "wait to see me after rads were over, because it made him upset to see all the work he had done so burned up".  haha

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