Submandibular swelling after surgery

kgasmart Member Posts: 61 Member

Hi all - first post here, I'm a 50-year-old dad who was diagnosed with base of tongue cancer last year, had laser surgery and a neck dissection, luckily it had only spread to one lymph node (and then just barely). I just finished my third week of follow-up radiaiton therapy; three weeks to go.

I wondered if anyone else who had surgery for this cancer developed a swollen submandibular gland possibly as a result. The day my radiation therapy was to begin I noticed the lump in my neck/under my chin; worried about it for a week, then went to my ENT doc who said - this is a common side effect from the surgery, no big deal, drink lots of water and suck on sour candies to stimulate saliva production.

I've done that (though I haven't been as religious about it as maybe I should), but the swelling seems to be increasing. There's no pain at all, maybe a little tightness in the throat, and it's not hindering swallowing or breathing or talking (yet?...) But it's swollen now to the point that the "mask" they put on me for the radiation has gotten tighter. I have a follow-up with the ENT in a few weeks, wondering if I should try to get in there sooner.

Does anyone else have experience with this? I did find something online which said swelling in the submandibular gland is one of the most common side effects of tongue surgery. But I feel like the Elephant Man and I'm beginning to look like him; and this, on top of the raw throat, taste changes and everyrhing else with the radiation.

Feedback appreciated!


  • SuzJ
    SuzJ Member Posts: 427 Member
    I remember it getting tighter

    I remember it getting tighter about halfway, but I just toughed it out.


    This too shall pass - attitude

    Again, hang in, one day at a time