Trouble with ear pain while eating and swallowing

 Hi, I am new here. My name is Tracy and I am 11 years out of treatment for head and neck cancer. My cancer was on the RIGHT side and was found in a lymph node in my neck. They could not find the cancer anywhere else so I am known as an Unknow primary. I was blasted on the right and left side from my nose area all the way down past the neck line. 35 treatments in all and 7 chemo treatment. A right radical neck dissection.

 April 2016 I noticed I was having some deep inter ear pain on LEFT side (not the cancer side) and it happened when eating and swallowing. My ear felt full, itched and burned alittle bit. I went to my ENT over the summer and he said he couldn't see anything going with my ear as far as infection. He scoped me and said my throat looked great. I work in the dental field so 3 dentist don't seem to think it's TMJ. The ENT put me on a medrol dose pack and it seemed to help alittle bit. My dentist gave me another pack 2 weeks later and things seem to improve alot. Now for the past month it's back. I dread eating because it hurts so bad and the pain lingers for hours. I had my yearly CT scan and it was normal. I am just freaking myself out with not knowing what it could be and no one has answers and it's driving me crazy. All that was said to me was possiable late side effects from radiation and scar tissue. 

So my question is has anyone ever had this happen to them this late out of treatment ? Remember this is not on the cancer side.


  • Noellesmom
    Noellesmom Member Posts: 1,859 Member
    Go to your ent

    There is something going on and you should make them find it.  Keep looking.

  • wmc
    wmc Member Posts: 1,804
    Welcome to the H&N Group

    Welcome, sorry you're having ear pain. You point out it is on the other side that was cancer, but they never found a primary. I would suggest getting a 2nd opinion from a different ENT. Also be careful with those dose paks as the steroids can have some severe side effects.[I have to take that for my lungs] I would rince my nose and sinus with a netti pot as it will get into the sinus area and clear them out and the mosture can help.


  • lornal
    lornal Member Posts: 428

    Not all ENTs treat the same things.  My surgeon for cancer looked at my ear because I couldn't hear anything. Couldn't see anything wrong.

    Went to my Ear ENT - I just had fluid on my ear.  And have had a tube in my right ear for a year & a half. 

    You might need to seek out a different ENT that specializes in ears. 

    Lorna 2007 & 2014