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Oral Cancer

Posts: 3
Joined: Sep 2007

Excision of left cheek followed by a radical neck dissection.

Posts: 3
Joined: Sep 2007

Hello everyone,

It's the fisrt time I join a forum so please forgive me in case I act weird. My name is Ilias and I am from Greece. My wife Sofia, aged 36 has oral cancer and she was operated in the UK last October with a radical excision of the left cheek followed by a radical neck dissection. Out of the 50 lymph nodes the 21 were with cancer. We are talking a very aggressive case where all the doctors were shocked. The treatment included an extensive radiotherapy which was finished on 20th January 2007.
Unfortunately, in mid April we were informed that there were metastasis in the lungs and we started chemotherapy straight away. The results of the exams at the mid August were very encouraging since the cancer was in remission.
However, almost a year now from the operation Sofia is having problems with her shoulder and terrible pains in the left cheek where the flap is. Moreover, her neck is getting tighter making it difficult to breathe. Her voice is getting weaker and her face is terribly swollen. Are all these side effects normal? Is there anyone out there who can help me understand what is going on? What shall we expect?
Thank you and God bless.

soccerfreaks's picture
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

I am NOT a doctor, but it sounds as though your wife may be suffering from an infection. Given the facts you describe, that would not be surprising, and the symptoms would be consistent.

My advice would be to get off of chat lines and discussion rooms (for the moment) and get your wife to a doctor NOW.

Difficulty in breathing gets you to the head of the line in almost any ER, so that tells you how serious the medical professionals consider that. The swelling and pain, after a year, also indicate a persistent problem. That is to say nothing of the loss of voice.

Exactly what are you waiting for?

My thoughts are with both you and your wife, but especially with your wife. She needs for you to care (as you do) and to act (as you will).

Take care.

Posts: 3
Joined: Sep 2007

Thank you so much for your response. However, I must say that the first thing we did is to go directly to the doctors. Regarding the swelling they said that this is normal since all the lymph nodes were taken out. So we should expect these effcets every now and then. About the loss of voice and the difficulty in breathing they said that is mainly because of the radiation therapy. All the area there has been severely damaged and it needs time to heal and gain some elasticity. This is why I asked all of you here to find out if this is something normal and if it is how long will it take to start improving?
Thank you once again for your feedback.

Posts: 4
Joined: Mar 2007

I had the same surgery October last year, and finished chemo and radiation in February. I still have swelling and tightness in the neck as well as the pain inside the cheek from where they took the flap. I experience a lot of pain in my left shoulder and where the lymph glands were taken out. I hate touching left side of my neck it is so sensitive and painful. I have been told that this is "normal"and could take up to two years to settle down.

lws's picture
Posts: 13
Joined: Nov 2014

Hi Ilias,

Its understandable how your wife is feeling and thinking right now. Oral cancer can do that to the strongest of us.

I too experienced a similar diagnosis in 2011. Please know I am here with you guys and I do understand the fears, thoughts and complete exhaustion from stress that accompanies such a health concern. Be encouraged it can be  navaigated one day at a time. I have been on a quest since my diagnosis of oral cancer and I have learned a great deal about making my journey better for me that doctors could not assist me with. Seeing those you love suffer is a challenge! Be aware of fear and how it will paralyze you and your wife if it can get you into the "what if" zone.  There is light at the ened of the tunnel.

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