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Sore throat from radiation

Posts: 6
Joined: Feb 2011

Hi all, my husband is getting a sore throat from radiation treatments and his doctor says if it gets to the point where he is having trouble eating they will need to stop the radiation for awhile. Just wondering if you all have found anything that helps with the sore throat so he can get the radiation as long as possible. He is half way through his 3rd week with 4 weeks to go.

mamacita5's picture
Posts: 254
Joined: May 2010

Ask his doctor for a prescription for "magic mouthwash" he will know what it is. This may help enough for him to be able to eat. I did not experience anything but the slightest sore throat from my radiation but as soon as I said my throat felt a little sore, he gave me the prescription. I took it a couple of times and it really numbed my throat. I hope this helps. Best wishes to both your hubby and you!

Posts: 220
Joined: Dec 2009

I had 35 days of radiation for NSCLC and had the very sore throat after about the 20th session, it is from the burnt esophagus. My DR. described as a bad sun burn to the throat, this was by far my worse side effect from my cancer treatments. The magic mouth wash does help. Water was like drinking acid,found spring water was best (no floride) ate lots of mash potatoes, puddings ice-cream and scrambled eggs worked best for me. Stay away from acidic type foods. I continued with the rads to the end of treatments. It will get better. Best wishes to your husband and you.... Not easy but you can beat this..... Dan

Posts: 1
Joined: Dec 2016

I can't get it down without gagging then vomit. If I get any down it only lasts an hour or 2.  But I will say my doctor just gave me antibiotics for a yeast I infection in my throat to my stomach. Day 2 not much relief yet.

Ex_Rock_n_Roller's picture
Posts: 281
Joined: Mar 2011

I've been there (last summer), but was lucky enough to experience the problem only for about the last 1.5-2 weeks of radiation. It was pretty uncomfortable while it lasted (also my most noticeable side effect of 7 weeks of concurrent radiation and chemo). What worked fairly well for me:

(1) Yes, get the magic mouthwash. I think it's Maalox with lidocaine, or some such mix. It will help.
(2) They will advise taking it with a straw, which you need to do in order to deaden your throat and not your mouth.
(3) I discovered pretty quickly to cut the end of the straw that goes into the liquid as short as possible. You want to be delivering the good stuff to your esophagus ASAP, and sucking through the full length of the straw takes too much time and effort.
(4) Eat quickly after ingesting the "magic," because the effect will wear off.

Follow the food recommendations as closely as possible (everything at room temperature, no acid, no abrasives); it will get to the point where even lukewarm water is painful. My docs advised against things like mashed potatos; they stick in one place and are actually fairly abrasive. I found that to be true.

My salvation for the last week was well-done spaghetti with a lot of butter, with the occasional serving of thoroughly boiled hot dogs diced up pretty small. Strangely, I also had fairly good luck with corn flakes thoroughly soaked in milk. You will want to experiment with smoothies and pudding of various kinds.

You'll have to tough it out to a degree, but get into a routine and stick with it. He'll start to feel like a million bucks a couple weeks after the treatment is done.

Posts: 1
Joined: Jan 2015

Never thought about cutting the straw ty and yes have to take pain pills fast and try to eat cause it does definitely wear off fast lol

Posts: 7
Joined: Aug 2014

I am still having a sore throat 5 months after radiation for vocal chord cancer. ENT prescribed antibiotic for 3 weeks saying it could be inflamation due to radiation. Still sore throat, next step is CAT scan. Has anyone else had this problem? Also I will get a tickle in my throat and the have a bad coughing spell then usually cough up a clear salty mucous. Could this be related to radiation?

Posts: 1
Joined: Jan 2016

I see you issue's are probobly long gone.Maybe you can give me some help.I went through 7 weeks of Chemo and radiation,which was complete 4 months ago.I had cancer on one of my vocal cords,they say it's gone now.My problem is my throat is still very sore and talking is a real big issue.I just had a PET scan before Thanksgiving and the ENT surgeon said the cancer is gone but the radiation caused a great deal of swelling which doesn't seem to be getting any better.I can deal with the sore throat but my vocal issue's are really frustrating.They have tried several antibiotics and now Prednisone.I go back to the ENT people this Thursday but really I'm kinda losing faith in these Duke Drs for after affects.

So my question to you is how long did your throat issue's last and are you ok now.

Posts: 2
Joined: Jan 2016

I was dx'd in 2009 with tumor in the eppligotis...7 weeks of radiation..refused chemo..I had a voice until radiation and it damaged one of my vocal cords so I have been left with just a whisper mst of the time once in awhile my voice works but it does not sound like me. and if I use it to long it irritates m throat and I cough. It was frustrating for a long time but after this long I am just glad to be a thriver. It makes things hard at times...phone calls...jobs...lol I asked about options but there is that chance that messing with my throat could wake the sleeping c and I have absolutly no interest in that.

Posts: 2
Joined: Jan 2016

I used to have that happen but it only lasted about the first year after therapy. It got less and less through the year.y onc prescribed "Miracle Mouthwash" that I used daily, it was awesome and I always used it prior to eating it made life so much better. and I had a standing prescriptionfor it for the first year after therapy.

Posts: 1
Joined: Jan 2016

Find out who manufactured equipment being used. Varian was sued for millions for over radiating patients as equipment was not working properly. Also make sure Dr is not over radiating patient.

Posts: 2
Joined: May 2016

I am half way through my 28 treatments and I just want to be through with radiation and able to just drink a glass of water.  Going in for treatment #15 today.  I have lost a lot of weight, approximately 20 pounds.  All of your suggestions on food and cutting the straw are great.  I shall try all of them.  I have been eating a lot of mash potatoes and to hear they stick in one place was a downer.  How are they making sure that the machine is working fine.  As a scientist myself, I know that working doesn't mean working correctly "all" of the time.

Posts: 844
Joined: Mar 2011

Try adding honey to your daily routine.  It is an anti oxidant that has been used to treat burns for millennium.  You do not need to buy the 'medical grade' Manuka honey.  Any honey is good but the darker the honey, the more antioxidants healing and soothing power.  Raw honey may contain botulins so use a processed honey.  Have a heaping spoonful 15-30 minutes before radiation and again about15 minutes after. 

I also found eating scrambled eggs easy.  Try soups with cream. Cream of chicken, cream of mushroom, etc.  they help add weight.  Make milk shakes with Boost or Ensure.  My favorite daily treat during chemo and radiation was a  hot fudge sundae sometimes I added a banana. 

Posts: 1
Joined: Oct 2017

My name is Paul and I am on treatment25 of 35 for throat cancer. There is a product at wal-mart calle aloe vera drink it comes in natural and berry. I gargle and swallow this before and after my treatment and it helps drastically. Iberia also has a drink for of aloe vera drink and it is a little better to the taste and I use that mlore often Hope this helps.



Posts: 5
Joined: Oct 2017

I had radiation treatment for cancer in the base of tongue in fall of 2015. Let me tell you it was a very trying time for me and my wife. I had 35 treatments and the worst part was being doweled to the table with the mask on and a bit in my mouth and being unable to move or swallow for 30 minutes. I got lots of anxiety.

My throat was almost completely closed by the time I had done 20 treatments. I was unable to swallow although I didn't have too much pain. I could only eat soup which pooled in my throat. If i ate solids it had to be sloppy, and pulverized with lots of gravy. 

I was cleared in 2016 but it has come back in my lung. I still have dry mouth and my epiglotis is like a piece of leather and swallowing is still a problem. I think it's forever.

Hope you two pull through it and you are in my prayers.

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