Oropharyngeal Cancer

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Hi,

   My brother-in-law was diagnosed with Oropharyngeal Cancer about a month ago. Stage 4 and spread to the surrounding Lymph Nodes. The Oncologist did an 8 hour surgery to remove as much of the tumor as possible. It was large and difficult to remove. He said the surgery was very invasive. He said he was able to get most of it, he thinks. Now about 2 weeks later, he is going to, next week, send him to start Chemoradiation. He is doing this for 7 days a week, an hour a day, for 7 weeks. Is this extreme? Does anyone know if this is a usual amount of Chemoradiation to have for this type of cancer and this stage? Has anyone else had experience with this? Will this treatment at this rate help or make it worse? What are the chances it will kill what is there and stop anymore from growing at this stage?

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  • phrannie51
    phrannie51 Member Posts: 4,716
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    I'm wondering if your BIL

    got all the information right.....7 weeks of chemo/rads is within the norm.....tho I've never heard of any one getting chemo every day, 7 days a week....nor rads everyday, 7 days a week, either.....usually weekends are off, with 5 days in a row.  Sometimes chemo will be given on a weekly basis.....sometimes they give a large dose every 3 weeks.....depends on the patient's tolerance, and the Dr.'s way of going about things.  Most radiation treatments last about 15 to 20 minutes.

    I did go to chemo everyday, but not for chemotherapy.....I was getting Amifostine shots on a daily basis to help my saliva glands survive radiation.....is he getting Amifostine, and that's why he'd go to the Oncologist's office everyday?

    p

  • CivilMatt
    CivilMatt Member Posts: 4,723 Member
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    cancer sucks

    Cruerocks,

    Welcome to the H&N forum, I am sorry you find yourself here and at information overload.

    Anywhere from 30 to 40 rads is normal, I had 35 for stage IVa, scc, bot, 1 lymph node, hpv+ (you can find a definition for abbreviations in the Superthread,, at the bottom of Superthread)

    Most treatments are meant to rid the body of cancer.  Without knowing more I assume the doctors are going for a good outcome, i.e. kill the cancer and with has few side effects as possible.

    Without treatment the cancer will run its course, with treatment there is a good chance of living a “new normal” life.  There is no doubt that treatments and their side effects may be difficult, but many do happily make it through.

    I chose to be hopeful in my outcome.

    Matt

  • debbiejeanne
    debbiejeanne Member Posts: 3,102 Member
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    the doctors throw a lot of

    the doctors throw a lot of info at you during the initial appointment and i agree w/P, i think your bil may have misunderstood some things.  i only had rads but i had them mon thru fri for 7 weeks.  never on a weekend.  its a good idea for someone to go to the next appointment with your bil to help him listen and understand what's being said.  it is a lot for one person to take in so 2 sets of ears are always better than one.  praying for your bil.

    God bless,

    dj

  • PJ47
    PJ47 Member Posts: 376
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    Not sure about the dates

    Normally after surgery they wait 6-8 weeks to begin chemo/radiation as there needs to be some time to heal.  7 weeks (usually means M-F) of radiation is the norm.

    Best of luck to your brother in law.  It sounds like his surgery was difficult.

    PJ

  • Cruerocks
    Cruerocks Member Posts: 20
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    I'm wondering if your BIL

    got all the information right.....7 weeks of chemo/rads is within the norm.....tho I've never heard of any one getting chemo every day, 7 days a week....nor rads everyday, 7 days a week, either.....usually weekends are off, with 5 days in a row.  Sometimes chemo will be given on a weekly basis.....sometimes they give a large dose every 3 weeks.....depends on the patient's tolerance, and the Dr.'s way of going about things.  Most radiation treatments last about 15 to 20 minutes.

    I did go to chemo everyday, but not for chemotherapy.....I was getting Amifostine shots on a daily basis to help my saliva glands survive radiation.....is he getting Amifostine, and that's why he'd go to the Oncologist's office everyday?

    p

    Thanks for the reply.

    He doesn't yet know what they are givng him in terms of the chemo. He hasn't started it yet. The doctor told him he will be going an hour a day 7 days a week for 7 weeks and that they will do Chemo and Radiation together.  Thank you for replying the information you gave was very helpful. I am very concerned that this much radiation will cause the cancer to keep growing, or make it grow at a more rapid rate.

  • Cruerocks
    Cruerocks Member Posts: 20
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    the doctors throw a lot of

    the doctors throw a lot of info at you during the initial appointment and i agree w/P, i think your bil may have misunderstood some things.  i only had rads but i had them mon thru fri for 7 weeks.  never on a weekend.  its a good idea for someone to go to the next appointment with your bil to help him listen and understand what's being said.  it is a lot for one person to take in so 2 sets of ears are always better than one.  praying for your bil.

    God bless,

    dj

    Thank you so much.

    Thank you for your prayers. That is a very good idea. My sister-in-law did go with him a couple of times. I don't know if she was there when they told him that. What you are both have said makes a lot of sense. I will talk to my sister-in-law and see if she was there and if not suggest that she be there next week when he goes in. Thank you again for help and kind words.

  • Cruerocks
    Cruerocks Member Posts: 20
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    CivilMatt said:

    cancer sucks

    Cruerocks,

    Welcome to the H&N forum, I am sorry you find yourself here and at information overload.

    Anywhere from 30 to 40 rads is normal, I had 35 for stage IVa, scc, bot, 1 lymph node, hpv+ (you can find a definition for abbreviations in the Superthread,, at the bottom of Superthread)

    Most treatments are meant to rid the body of cancer.  Without knowing more I assume the doctors are going for a good outcome, i.e. kill the cancer and with has few side effects as possible.

    Without treatment the cancer will run its course, with treatment there is a good chance of living a “new normal” life.  There is no doubt that treatments and their side effects may be difficult, but many do happily make it through.

    I chose to be hopeful in my outcome.

    Matt

    Thank you.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you in your fight. I love your positive attitude! Thank you for the information, I welcome it. Thanks for the reply it really does bring the spirits up.

  • Cruerocks
    Cruerocks Member Posts: 20
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    PJ47 said:

    Not sure about the dates

    Normally after surgery they wait 6-8 weeks to begin chemo/radiation as there needs to be some time to heal.  7 weeks (usually means M-F) of radiation is the norm.

    Best of luck to your brother in law.  It sounds like his surgery was difficult.

    PJ

    Thanks

    Yes it was. He is still healing. He is having a real hard time, not only with the healing prosses, as well as the way he looks as a result of the surgery. Others have said the same thing. I think he may have missunderstood, at least I hope, about going everyday. I am goin to talk to my sister-in-law about what the DR. said. Thank you for the information and you kind thoughts.

  • KTeacher
    KTeacher Member Posts: 1,103 Member
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    Cruerocks said:

    Thanks

    Yes it was. He is still healing. He is having a real hard time, not only with the healing prosses, as well as the way he looks as a result of the surgery. Others have said the same thing. I think he may have missunderstood, at least I hope, about going everyday. I am goin to talk to my sister-in-law about what the DR. said. Thank you for the information and you kind thoughts.

    Looks

    I have a wonky smile, can't blow out candles, whistle or spit, but I'm still here.  I know that how we look to others is sometimes a concern, I lost my eye a year ago to this horrible 'c.'  Keep calm and carry on.  Heads up, go out and smile when others are looking at you.  It does get easier and as my daughter told me, it's their problem if they can't handle the way you look.

  • fishmanpa
    fishmanpa Member Posts: 1,227 Member
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    Similar

    Hi Crue,

    I was stage IV with an unknown primary. My tumors were HPV+ so it was most likely oropharyngeal as 90% of unknown primaries are. I underwent two tonsilectomies (palatine & lingual) along with biopsies looking for the primary which was never found. I had a neck dissection to remove the tumors on the left side of my neck. Like your brother, the tumors were invasive and extracapsular. Surgery was intricate and difficult. 6 weeks healing and then 6 weeks chemorads. 5 days a week rads and weekly Cisplatin. 

    I've not seen a treatment as aggressive as you describe on the boards so I would double check those stats. The docs typically throw the kitchen sink at this type of cancer and while it's a brutal treatment, he'll get through it. I'm a year out and NED and while the side effects are many, I'm still kickin'. 

    Positive thoughts and prayers

    "T"

  • Cruerocks
    Cruerocks Member Posts: 20
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    KTeacher said:

    Looks

    I have a wonky smile, can't blow out candles, whistle or spit, but I'm still here.  I know that how we look to others is sometimes a concern, I lost my eye a year ago to this horrible 'c.'  Keep calm and carry on.  Heads up, go out and smile when others are looking at you.  It does get easier and as my daughter told me, it's their problem if they can't handle the way you look.

    Thanks for the positive

    Smile Thanks for the positive words. I am going to send him this whole message. Thanks for the possitive words. Good luck to you.

  • Cruerocks
    Cruerocks Member Posts: 20
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    fishmanpa said:

    Similar

    Hi Crue,

    I was stage IV with an unknown primary. My tumors were HPV+ so it was most likely oropharyngeal as 90% of unknown primaries are. I underwent two tonsilectomies (palatine & lingual) along with biopsies looking for the primary which was never found. I had a neck dissection to remove the tumors on the left side of my neck. Like your brother, the tumors were invasive and extracapsular. Surgery was intricate and difficult. 6 weeks healing and then 6 weeks chemorads. 5 days a week rads and weekly Cisplatin. 

    I've not seen a treatment as aggressive as you describe on the boards so I would double check those stats. The docs typically throw the kitchen sink at this type of cancer and while it's a brutal treatment, he'll get through it. I'm a year out and NED and while the side effects are many, I'm still kickin'. 

    Positive thoughts and prayers

    "T"

    Thank you

    Positive thoughts and prayers to you as well. Good to hear you are doing better. I wish you the best with your recovery. He has a Dr. Appointment on Monday, where they will get more info. My sister-in-law said the Dr. told them he would go 7 days a week for 7 weeks. I told her what you all have said and she says she is going to double check. Thank you for the information. It has been really helpful.

  • donfoo
    donfoo Member Posts: 1,773 Member
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    chemo delivery...

    Radiation therapy can be offered in fractions that have patient receive radiation more than once a day. Chemo can be delivered 24x7 as in the case of 5FU which is dosed using a portable pump. I have not heard of someone going into infusion center more than once a week for oral cancer chemo treatment. 

  • Cruerocks
    Cruerocks Member Posts: 20
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    donfoo said:

    chemo delivery...

    Radiation therapy can be offered in fractions that have patient receive radiation more than once a day. Chemo can be delivered 24x7 as in the case of 5FU which is dosed using a portable pump. I have not heard of someone going into infusion center more than once a week for oral cancer chemo treatment. 

    Thank you very much for the

    Thank you very much for the information.