Vocal chord cancer

mazzo Member Posts: 3 *
edited January 3 in Head and Neck Cancer #1

I had radiation for the cancer . It has been 8 weeks since last treatment and I’m still having burning in my throat - sore throat and horrible coughing and gagging (particularly at night). Anyone else have same experience and when do side effects stop!


  • Gramofthefab5
    Gramofthefab5 Member Posts: 2 Member

    I completed 35 radiation treatments as well as 6 chemo treatments for my throat cancer. My last treatment was on November 22nd which was 6 weeks ago today. I barely had a voice for the last 10 radiation treatments and my voice did not come back until December 15th. My swallowing has greatly improved but my taste buds are definitely off. I am trying to keep eating food and get as many calories in a day as I can and I want to get away from the Ensures and Boost supplements. The worse part for me is the coughing and mucous that causes me gaging and I agree, it gets worse at night when I go to bed. I have been using an extra small pillow to keep my head somewhat elevated and that does seem to help. I do still gargle with the warn salt water and it relieves a lot of the mucous. Also I am trying to drink plenty of water and also my hot coffees which I can now finally enjoy. The warmer dinks seem to help my throat and mucous problem. I also take tylenol during the day. My Dr. has told me that the effects of the radiation will take some time to totally be gone and he assures me that things will improve and I do remain hopeful. I do not have the sore throat issue and am very sorry you are having to deal with it. I continue to have more good days than bad days and that is very encouraging especially since at the end of radiation it was very hard and painful. Good luck to you with your recovery and I'll keep you in my prayers and thoughts.

  • mazzo
    mazzo Member Posts: 3 *

    Thank you very much hearing your story gives me hope

  • wbcgaruss
    wbcgaruss Member Posts: 2,275 Member

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

    I would recommend you check out the Superthread at the top of the page there are loads of information in there with links and you will find it helpful.

    Personally, and from being on this forum for a bit I can tell you that recovery is not a fast process in H&N cancer. Recovery is measured in weeks and months not days and weeks. You recover very slowly and the effects take a while to go away. It requires patience. At 8 weeks you are probably getting to the point where you should soon be seeing improvements.

    As for the burning in your throat, it is probably a combination of irritation and pain. You might try drinking various drinks such as milk, soda, coffee, and tea, and try to find something to ease the burning, that is if you can get liquid through. There is probably pain involved so stay ahead of it with pain meds and if needed take them on a regular schedule such as every 6 hours or every four hours regularly.

    As far as the coughing and gagging it is a side effect or radiation that is thick saliva. What is recommended is do a rinse as often as necessary with baking soda and salt rinse to keep it cleared out. Rinse every hour, half an hour, 20 minutes whatever helps solve or easde the problem.

    Also sleeping in a recliner or if you don't have one some inventive propping up with pillows in bed will do it. Laying down seems to direct it to our throat and cause coughing and gagging from the thick saliva.

    I am posting the salt and baking soda recipes below.

    Our Motto On Here is NEGU (Never Ever Give Up)

    Wishing You The Best

    Take Care, God Bless


    mazzo Here Are Recipes

    For the salt/baking soda mixes.

    Rinse as often or as little as needed to deal with thick saliva even the stringy stuff.

    The trick is to stay ahead of it as best you can.

    There are no easy solutions but this will eventually quit.

    You may find it beneficial to sleep in a recliner to keep the thick stuff out of your throat and airway.

    Laying down directs it to the back of your mouth/throat area.

    Even in a recliner I would wake up at times with my air cut off and had to work at getting it cleared out.

    Wishing You The Best-Take Care-God Bless-Russ

    Mouth Rinse Recipes to Use During Chemotherapy

    Soda and Salt Mouth Rinse

    1/4 teaspoon baking soda

    1/8 teaspoon salt

    1 cup of warm water

    Mix well until salt dissolves. Rinse your mouth gently, being careful not to swallow the mixture. Follow this with a plain water rinse to clean out any remaining salt or soda.

    Soda Mouth Rinse: A Good Rinse for Before You Eat

    1 teaspoon baking soda

    1 cup of warm water

    Mix well to dissolve the baking soda. This is a good rinse to use before and after a meal because it may soothe any mucositis pain you have, making it easier for you to eat well. Swish and spit, but don't swallow this mixture.

    Saltwater Mouth Rinse

    1/4 teaspoon salt

    1 cup of warm water

    Mix well to dissolve the salt. This saltwater rinse is close to the natural chemistry of your own saliva. This may make mouth sores feel better. Rinse well with plain water to remove excess salt.

    Salt and Soda Rinse for Gummy Mouth

    Some chemotherapy drugs can increase the acidity in your mouth, leading to thick saliva that can be very annoying. This rinse works well for "gummy mouth."

    1/2 teaspoon salt

    2 tablespoons baking soda

    4 cups of warm water

    This rinse will help to neutralize the acid in your mouth and will help dissolve or loosen thick, gummy saliva. Don't drink it, just rinse and spit it out.

    Peroxide Rinse for Crusted Sores

    If your mouth sores are crusting over, it's important to allow the natural healing process in your body to continue, so a peroxide rinse should be used for no more than two days consecutively.

    1 cup hydrogen peroxide

    1 cup water or

    1 cup salt water (1 teaspoon of salt in 4 cups of water)

    If you have crusty mouth sores, try using this rinse three or four times a day for two days. Don't use it for more than two days at a time, because it could prevent mucositis from healing.

    Use a non-peroxide rinse for two days, before returning to this mixture.

  • mazzo
    mazzo Member Posts: 3 *

    So grateful great information. Thank you