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Post operative broblems with jaw

Posts: 7
Joined: Feb 2005

I was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma in Feb. of 2004, had a radical neck dissection in Mar. 2004, had 33 radiation treatments, last one being 06/20/2004. I haven't had any further problems with the cancer since the treatment. I now have a problem with my left jaw. My Doctor tells me that the radiation treatment restricted the blood flow to my jaw and since I have a metal plate in my jaw where they put me back togeather, I am very susseptable to infection. I saw another specialist and he suggested I take "Hyper-barric Oxygen treatments" to increase the bloodflow in my jaw, then eventually remove the plates that hold it togeather. I kind of feel like I have beat the cancer and now the treatment is going to get me. Has anyone had similar problems?

MLC53's picture
Posts: 109
Joined: Sep 2007

I haven't had the problems you are having, but I am having some other problems from the radiation effects. I have been out of treatments for about 10 months now. Unfortunately, none of my doctors told me there would be any such side effects BEFORE the treatments. It is only now, when I have started experiencing some problems, that they are elaborating on the damage that radiation can cause. Some of the problems I'm having are Trismus, severe stricture to the esophagus and a sore jaw. I am sorry to learn that you are having the jaw problem so far out from your treatments. It makes me wonder what else may be lurking out there for the rest of us years down the road. Keep us posted on how things go. Hang in there!

Posts: 18
Joined: Dec 2007

Timely topic for me. I'm almost 6 months out from 38 rad's and it seems my left side of my throat has never stopped hurting along with my ear and jaw. Swallowing still hurts a lot. Last week I had a laparascope to see what's going on in there. Thankfully, nothing cancerous. This procedure was done to insure no cancer was lurking because Hyperbarric O2 has been suggested for me as well and my ENT said that we needed to make sure I was cancer free beforehand, otherwise once O2 hit a cancer it would accelerate.
What he did find was virtually 3rd degree burns down there. No wonder it hurts. I was given Trental to increase circulation a month ago in hopes it would promote healing. It may have helped, who knows? One good report, my voice has finally begun to return. Not great, but audible.
It concerns me greatly to know that 4 years out you still have problems of this nature.
I'll find out this week when and how many treatments I have to look forward to. I'll try and keep everyone posted as to the success.
Good luck to you.

MLC53's picture
Posts: 109
Joined: Sep 2007

Why did they suggest HBO for you?

Posts: 288
Joined: May 2003

I have a different cancer from yours but I've had radiation treatment in the head/neck area 2-3 times. There was damage to my mastoid bone from the tumor, surgery and from radiation.

Years later some of my teeth had to come out and I needed to have implants to hold the new teeth. My dentist and oral surgeon didn't know if the jawbone was strong enough to "hold" the metal implants. After talking to my radiologist, they decided that going to the hyperbaric chamber for oxigen treatments would help me. I had 30 sessions in the oxigen chamber before oral surgery and 10 after surgery. It worked great for me. The implants were installed with no problem and I had to wait 6-9 months before getting my new teeth, just waiting to see if the oxigen treatment had worked. It worked great for me and I haven't had any problems since then which was like 4-5 years ago.

Other people were in the oxigen chamber with me, some because they had a wound that would not heal due to cancer, diabetes or old age.

The oxigen promotes new "veins" and when there is more blood to one area, it helps with the healing and apparently helps the bone too. I don't know if it would help everybody but it helped me. Without it, I would not have been able to have implants and my jaw bones are stronger because of it.

I trust my dentist because he has worked with cancer patients and I also trust my radiologist and the oral surgeon. If they suggested the oxigen chamber was the way to do it, I was willing to try it.

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