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Neck atrophy and slumped shoulders

Posts: 2
Joined: Jan 2014

After a diagnosis of neuroblastoma in October of 1992, my 1 year old son went through 9 months of chemo, 12 doses of radiation to the neck and chest, and 2 surgeries, one of which removed 24 lymph nodes from the neck. Over the years, there have been several unusual characteristics that he has developed, that we have always suspected had something to do with his cancer and subsequent treatments, but doctors have never confirmed. 

First, after his first treatment, he developed a set of "stripes" that extended from the back of his ankle up to his rear end. This appears to be a loss of pigment, and as he has grown, these stripes have stretched, but are fairly proportional in size to their original appearance. 

Second, he has two teeth, about the 4th back from the front top on both sides, that are the size of baby teeth. 

Next, even though my son is extremely athletic, and works out for football, baseball, and soccer, his unusually small neck will not develop. He is 5'10" but has a smaller than 14" neck. He also complains that his upper chest does not show any muscle gain. He has good muscle growth in his abdomen and legs. 

Finally, his shoulders roll forward, creating a slightly humped back. After breaking a collar bone, he asked the doctor about this, and the doctor said it appeared that he had short clavicles. 

Has anyone else had similar experiences?  We are wondering if there is anything that can be done to counteract these symptoms, or even if they are actually caused by the cancer experience. 

cathyp's picture
Posts: 366
Joined: Dec 2009

I would think that your sons neck muscle atrophy and rounded shoulders are indeed from the radiation tx's.  I was 29 when I had my radaition for Hodgkin' Lymphoma and I have the atrophy and rounded shoulders (the chest fascia is pulled tight which rolls the shoulders forward and inward) Specialists have confirmed both are from my treatments.  Since your son was growing while undergoing radiation, it seems he would be effected more so.  Have you considerd consulting with a pediatric Long Term Follow up Specialist?  As for the stripes, I had "tiger stripes" from one of my chemo agents.  Perhaps that may explain your sons.

Best wishes as you sort this all out!


Posts: 2
Joined: Jan 2014

Thanks for your reply. I haven't consulted with a specialist because doctors didn't seem concerned with these oddities, and so I just thought they were something unique to him. We went for a follow up when he was 16 and the doctors just said they had never seen the stripes before, and didn't comment on his shoulders. However, since then my son has lifted weights, taken protein shakes, etc to try and build up his neck and chest muscles, to no avail. It has become apparent to us that there is something different about his body. 

Posts: 1107
Joined: Dec 2010

I had to go to occupational/physical therapy for severe scar tissue adhesions and got myofascial release therapy. In addition to the scar tissue on my chest, my shoulders were being pulled inward and I was hunched over to the front. I already had bad posture, and the scar tissue adhesions made it worse.

It took me months of occupational therapy.

Maybe you could try some ot/pt therapy with an experienced therapist? It is just a thought/suggestion.


I wish you luck and am so sorry to hear your story.

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