side effects on radiation therapy for oral cancer


My FIL is under diagnosis and it looks like stage 1 oral cancer. He had a lump on lower lip which is under biopsy ( he used to smoke ) . 
would like to know what will be the side effects if he undergo radiation therapy for cancer cells around lips ? ( Doc says surgery will not help ) . 
Will radiation therapy around the the lips cause fatigue & weakness similar to therapy in other parts of the body ? 
also can you guys please suggest what will be normal duration & frequency of the therapy ( i know its case specific , but please just throw a ballpark number) .


  • CivilMatt
    CivilMatt Member Posts: 4,722 Member


    Welcome to the H&N forum.

    To get a good run down of every aspect of head and neck cancer you should visit the Superthread.  Which can be found at the top of the page.

    Some of the side effects from radiation can be sores in the mouth, dry mouth, lack of saliva, lack of taste, edema, restlessness, fatigue, weakness, pain, anxiety, etc.

    A normal duration of radiation may be seven weeks five times a week for a total of 35 radiation treatments.

    This is all ballpark, many people have it easy and many people have it hard.

    You must first have a diagnosed before you plan the side effects.   It is not cancer until they tell you it is cancer.

    Good luck,


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

    Welcome, Matt did great on what to expect, and yes the superthread will answer questions you haven't asked yet and help with the terms. You said he used to smoke. Rember i am not a doctor, but smoking usualy hits lower in the throat around back of throat or vocal cords, I smoked. Have you had a second opinion? Are you going to your local ENT? The reason I ask is most local doctors don't see H&N very much and going to a major hospital, also has all the newest toys to use.

    I was stage 3 supraglottic [just above vocal cords] everyone is different and I have bad lungs so I had only one option, surgery. The good news is he is stage 1 which is better and also means it was found early. 


  • Hondo
    Hondo Member Posts: 6,636 Member
    Welcom to CSV H&N

    Just remember everyone is different in the way the treatment affects them, but like Matt and Bill is saying Superthread has something in there for everyone. For now I will keep you both in prayer.



  • Barbaraek
    Barbaraek Member Posts: 626
    Sorry that you have to be here...

    but you came to the right place for support and questions. Matt's got it covered in his answer. Responses to treatment vary widely. The medical oncologist called my husband a "complication magnet" and he had it rough...but it was all worth it when we heard the tumor was gone.

    Best of luck to your father in law and prayers for you and your family,