jackie1 Member Posts: 6
edited March 2014 in Head and Neck Cancer #1
my husband George has naso pharyngeal cancer and i
have read that alot of people w/this type of cancer have a hard time opening their mouths,my husband has this problem to and no one has explained why. also has any one had surgery for
this type of cancer and if so, where did surgery
take place? my husband is also a laryngectomy (voice box removed) he had the max for radiation
and can't have any more, doing only chemo now and
are praying it helps. hope someone out there can
help answer my questions.

thanks to all
aloha/ Jackie.


  • soccerfreaks
    soccerfreaks Member Posts: 2,788 Member
    jackie - i am head and neck survivor (actually, tongue and neck) and i have experienced the same thing. Because they did some heavy duty surgery (replaced part of my tongue and lymph nodes on right side of neck) the muscles on right side of my jaw/cheek were not the same as before. This causes obvious problems, but may not be one for your hub. In addition, though, radiation causes swelling, and sometimes that does not go away. Beyond that, there is the simple issue of not using your mouth as you normally do, during the time of surgery and perhaps through the chemo and rads as well.

    I had therapist to work with me on opening mouth, and achieved some success with that. You can also purchase something called a therabite that can be used at home to help improve opening, although this little piece of plastic is quite expensive.

    My therapists recommended using tongue depressors or something similar as levers to pry open mouth. Do these exercises of prying open mouth (just short of pain) several times a day.

    It is, in other words, usually a matter of just getting the muscles used to doing what they used to do.

    I am NOT a doctor, and George may have other issues, but this was the problem for me, and continues to be to some extent. It takes determination and repetition with the exercises (some others, without the "levers" are as simple as opening mouth, jutting out lower jaw, moving jaw from side to side) and using the mouth often.

    I wish you and George well during his recovery.

    Take care
  • Christmas
    Christmas Member Posts: 100
    I'm a nasopharyngeal cancer survivor. Had my last radiation Nov 2003 and my last chemo March 2004. No surgery. But a cyberknife treatment in December 2003. I did notice a problem with opening up my mouth. I can open it enough to eat and clean my teeth and do dental work. So, I didn't question it.
    My research tells me that this type of cancer has one of the highest survival rates. The cure is definitely worse than the disease. I wish you and George the best. Let your family and friends help.
  • digital_works
    digital_works Member Posts: 8
    Hi, I had NPC, C&R, chemo and radiation. The radiation destroys cells. The Rad are basting the head neck face region. The muscles will get bruised by the rads. So after treatment, he has to excercise the jaw muscles. I was given a stack of tonge depressers and day by day I had keep making a stack of depressors, to get my mouth to open wider. It hurts and now I can Stretch and Open my muth like before the treatment. Drink ensure, it's easy to puke up and easy to drink.
    You puke means stomach acids, so wash down the acids. Water, milk, stings when coming up. Ensure it easier, smoother. It's neutral.