Joining the mucus discussion!

dougmarti Member Posts: 4 Member
edited December 2023 in Head and Neck Cancer #1

Hello we're new. My husband had HPV tonsil cancer and completed his 7 week radiation over 2 years ago. His biggest struggle(apart from not swallowing) is the copious amounts of mucus. I was interested in everyone's suggestion regarding the baking soda/ salt rinse which we just started after reading the posts. Also curious why his mucus has not lessened in 2 years. He is in therapy for speech/ swallowing and we remain hopeful that he will be able to have some form of oral intake someday. I am glad to have found this forum. Thank you in advance for any help you can give us. I hope we can reciprocate.


  • wbcgaruss
    wbcgaruss Member Posts: 2,215 Member

    Hello dougmarti and welcome to the CSN H&N discussion forum.

    I would like to welcome you and urge you to check out the "Superthread" at the top of the page. It is loaded with member-submitted content and links and you may find some help there for your situation and other things.

    I would say your situation of excess mucous is unusual this far past treatment. It is usually troublesome during treatment and extending 4-8 weeks post-treatment and keeps winding down after that. And I am assuming from your statement "we remain hopeful that he will be able to have some form of oral intake someday" that he is also not able to eat. I would recommend you get back to his care team and or ENT in relation to these 2 situations you are facing 2 years post-treatment. It is possible they may have some answers to his thick saliva continuing and be able to address his not being able to eat. I think he would be well served by also being referred to a "Speech Therapist". They are all things Head and Neck such as swallowing, breathing, saliva, etc, and will be able to evaluate him and pinpoint his problems, and offer a solution. They may even have him take a swallowing test so they can visually see his swallowing or absence thereof. He should have been assigned a Speech Therapist at some point usually at the beginning of treatment to monitor and help as needed during and after treatment. I assume he had a feeding tube during treatment so the Speech Therapist would have had him doing swallowing exercises during and after treatment so he wouldn't forget how to swallow.

    Swallowing and Speech Rehabilitation for Head and Neck Cancer

    What happens during a swallow test?

    I hope some of the information I have provided helps your husband.

    In the meantime use the salt and baking soda rinse to keep his mouth free of the thick saliva and feeling better, rinse as often as necessary.

    If I think of anything else I will post it later.

    Our Motto here is "NEGU (Never Ever Give Up)"

    Wishing You the Best

    Take care, God Bless


  • dougmarti
    dougmarti Member Posts: 4 Member

    Thank you so much! Yes he has been working with a speech therapist since treatment. His swallowing muscles are okay, it's just the damage to his soft palate that doesn't allow it to close off his airway when he swallows. We are having a " paryngeal. Obturator" made that will help that situation. Who knew there was such a thing? The issue of copious mucus this far out of treatment is a puzzle, but I will continue to look for answers. Appreciate everyone's help. Thank you for yours.

    Marti (and Doug)

  • francma
    francma Member Posts: 69 Member

    I am 13. yrs out and most recently have excess saliva and mucus. The issue began from my immobile tongue 3 yrs after treatment. MRI showed scar tissues on the hypoglossal nerve..the tongue. Affected my speech and swallowing. Follow ENT and SLP, speech therapist.

  • dougmarti
    dougmarti Member Posts: 4 Member

    Thank You! Your information helps us know where to look next. Appreciate your post. Good luck to us all!