post-radiation repercussions and side effects


My husband had chemo and radiation to treat an HPV-related cancer that started in his tonsils and moved to his lymph nodes.  His treatment stopped almost four years ago but he's just now starting to have some strange - to us - side effects.  Has anyone else had this treatment, and has anyone found afterwards that there are progressively worse neck muscle cramps?  His started a few months ago and have gotten so bad that they periodically interfere with his ability to swallow which is terrifying to me.  His radiologist seems uniquely unconcerned about it. I'm really worried....


  • CivilMatt
    CivilMatt Member Posts: 4,722 Member
    new side effects


    I am almost 5 years out and have not had any (new) side effects such as muscle spasms.

    Maybe, a visit to your ENT would be in order as well as your GP. 

    Swallowing is something many of us make a conscious effort to do correctly.  Eating is easy, but precautions do need to be made, like always having a drink.

    I do not know how much the rad onc will be helpful, unless it can be directly related to rads.


  • SASH
    SASH Member Posts: 421 Member
    edited January 2017 #3

    Swallowing can be effected early on and continue to cause issues as time progresses.  After 16 years I was diagnosed with "Silent Aspiration" where food and liquid are going down the wrong way and I don't even know it.  There are swallowing specialists who are normally speech pathologists that might be able to help with the swallowing issues.  This can be anything from exercises with or without food/liquid to throat dialation performed by an ENT.  

  • donfoo
    donfoo Member Posts: 1,771 Member
    cramping neck muscles

    Soon after recovery, my neck started getting stiff and giving off shooting pain. Depending on where the radiation is directed, fibrosis often results. This is typical and there is no way to cure it but you can treat it.
    What I do is a lot of massaging the area, from below my ear to my shoulder, and also stretching the muscles by twisting my neck and bending my head. Good luck. 

  • Sunshine60
    Sunshine60 Member Posts: 81
    edited February 2017 #5
    neck cramps

    My husband had radiation to the neck 4 yrs ago and has cramps quite often.  What has been helpful for him is getting a neck massage 1x per month.  He also has dry mouth and quite a bit of scar tissue from the radiation.

  • AnotherSurvivor
    AnotherSurvivor Member Posts: 383 Member
    I am one month out of rad and

    I am one month out of rad and working with a speech and swallow therapist on that specific issue.  She has me working a set of stretching exercises intended to minimize that.  Basically, his radiation scar tissue is hardening, and getting stiff.  Look up Masako exercise and it should take you to some websites with exercises.  He is going to have to progressively stretch the tissue loose thru the exercises.

  • papadave34
    papadave34 Member Posts: 1
    edited February 2017 #7
    17 yr base of tongue and stage 4 lymph node

    had experimental treatment which was 24 hr a day chemo and 2 xs daily rad. 17 yrs. ago.  In the last 4 months he has become from a pretty active man to not being able to do anything but sit or be in bed.  extremely weak.  Every test known I believe has been done with all normal results.  On paper he is a healthy 83 yr. old. but can't function.  We wondered if anyone that had this type of treatment may be experiencing same thing.  We are thankful for the 17 yrs just at wits end what to do next.

  • Beekeeper
    Beekeeper Member Posts: 2
    edited February 2017 #8
    Adenocarcinoma of the sinus

     I am brand-new to the network… And I am wondering if anyone else out there has the same diagnosis. I am three weeks out from radiation… My hair is falling out in the back, and I have a couple of other side effects. I have a PET scan in April… And I'm very hopeful that they got all of it.