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Edema - Chin & Neck

Ed_PortOrange's picture
Posts: 110
Joined: Jun 2010

I've been told that the swelling under my chin (wattle) and rings around my neck are normal reactions to radiation. My concern is that they keep getting bigger and they are extremely firm to the touch. I'm 7 months post and I was wondering if anyone else has experienced this continued growth?

Thanks Gang

Pam M's picture
Pam M
Posts: 2196
Joined: Nov 2009

I'm seven months out, too. My turkey neck changes - some days it's larger and/or firmer than others.

Posts: 665
Joined: Apr 2010

Same thing here! I am eight month's post treatment & my neck has not changed much.I am sleeping with my head elevated, however, my neck is still quite puffy & firm to the touch also. I am not in any discomfort from it, however it sure looks wierd.

Kimba1505's picture
Posts: 557
Joined: Apr 2010

Mark has this, but he found it uncomfortable and tight. He went to physical therapy where he learned some techniques to manage it, which he will probably have to do for the rest of his life. He has no lymph nodes on the left side of his neck, so the lymphatic fluid can build up. He does a gentle massage to "guide" it to receptive lymph nodes on the other side of his neck. The physical therapist also designed a soft collar (for lack of a better word) to wear at night and gently compress the fluid. He looks great, and does not feel the discomfort of the tightness from the fluid build up.
Mark is also going to the gym and doing some weight training which just seems to strengthen the area and helps.
Marine has a post that describes the exercises very well. My guess he will read this and re-post in that this discussion comes up frequently.

Ed_PortOrange's picture
Posts: 110
Joined: Jun 2010

Just inside the jaw bone it is slightly tender to the touch. The swelling does limit the range of motion I have in turning my head to either side. I notice it most when driving in the car checking my blind spots before changing lanes. Hope it improves, if not, it's no biggie.

Best Wishes & Prayers to All


Hondo's picture
Posts: 6643
Joined: Apr 2009

Yep sounds like turkey neck, it is a command side affect of radiation. Talk to your doctor and see if he will therapy for it.

All the best to you.

Skiffin16's picture
Posts: 8286
Joined: Sep 2009

I'm 16+ months out and mine has nearly if not entirely gone away....

I did use to do the gentle massage and such, but it didn't really help significantly, but at times did seem to help a little.

For me as the rest of the side effects, they become minimal after time.


Posts: 22
Joined: Oct 2009

omg i hear you..my husband looks like a turkey neck...he is going to lymphedema therapy and it is helping a lot...he does his own neck massages now..some days are worse than others but it seems to have to do with the weather as odd as that may sound hang in there as we all must

MarineE5's picture
Posts: 907
Joined: Dec 2005

Hi Ed,

As Kim mentioned, I posted this stretching and massage routine awhile back that my Physical Therapist taught me several years ago. I used it everyday for a few months and it kind of retrained the Lymphnode system to flow to the smaller routes. I use the technique whenever I feel I need to, due to maybe lifting something heavy or bending over and having my head and shoulders below my heart level. Here it is again, I have saved it to my computer to pull up whenever this topic comes up. Have a good day.

Kim, I am glad to hear that Mark is doing so well. He had you to lean on along the way. Outstanding news.

A simple neck stretch exercise the Cancer Therapist taught me was to sit or stand and not move my shoulders. Keeping my mouth closed, look up at the ceiling as far as possible and hold for a count of 10. Return to facing forward and then look to the left and again count to 10, then the right. Next, look straight ahead and tilt your head to the left as if trying to get your left ear to touch your left shoulder, again count to 10, then the right side. That is the exercise she taught me and it has helped over the yrs. Try to do these 3 times during your day if you can.

Next, the massage for the Lymph system. It is a gentle massage starting at the front of your chin. Using 2-3 fingers,make small circular movements for 6-8 circles and then slowly move up in sections along your jaw on one side, working up toward the top of your ear and then slowly behind your ear and down toward the jugular vein and to your collar bone. Do both sides this way, either one side at a time or using both hands, do both sides at the same time. Then starting under your chin and by the Adam's apple, make circles again and work under your jaw bone and towards the ear area.

Next part is, place your right hand in the center of your chest so your hand can work from the center of your chest to your left shoulder just below the collar bone and push gently to the left shoulder 6-8 times and repeat on the right side with your left hand. After that, raise your left arm straight up towards the ceiling, place your right arm across the front of your body, reaching to touch your shoulder blade, slowly run your hand down along your side to your waist 6-8 times, repeat on the other side.

Next,we have a lymph system reservoir located in the general area of our belly button and to the left, but a few inches down near the left hip bone. Near this area, press alittle more firmly and make 6-8 circular motions. Work across the lower stomach area making a smiley face ( or a U shape) across to your right hip area and then back again. This stimulates the reservoir and helps move the lymphnode system.

We also have the benefit of gravity working on our side, after this stretching and massage, by walking for a short period, gravity takes over and the fluids start to move down towards the reservoir. Cutting down on salt helps and drinking roughly 64 ozs of fluid a day helps flush our bodies. If you do this properly, you will start to make more trips to the bathroom to urinate.

It took just a few visits for me to catch on and it started working for me in several weeks. I was swelling up in my face and neck, causing tightness and difficulty turning my neck and eating . Again, you will do this massage 2-3 times a day if needed. Sometimes, I only do it once a day and other days I don't need to. You will know when to do it.

Also, if we do any type of heavy lifting, picking something up that weighs more then 25 pounds, our blood and lymphnode fluid move to the area doing the work ( shoulders and neck ) which in turn causes us to swell. Sleeping flat will cause us to swell also. Once the Lymphnode system repairs itself. We will have to do less of this massage and stretching exercises. If the swelling flares up, we can do something about it.

If it continues, I would ask to be taught by a Cancer Physical Therapist, they can show you the proper technique. Hopefully, this will be helpful. My apologies for such a long post.

My Best to You and Everyone Here

Ed_PortOrange's picture
Posts: 110
Joined: Jun 2010


Thank you for the repost. I do remember seeing this before but my wattle was that of a young rooster at the time. Now that I've matured it's time to do some exercises. Don't need everyone in the flock staring at my bulging neck appendage.

Keep a smile on your face and in your heart.

Best wishes to all.


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