CSN Login
Members Online: 11

You are here


meaganb's picture
Posts: 243
Joined: May 2012

Hey friends! I finished 30 Rad treatments mid June, so I'm almost 4 months out. I have healed really well and I had a clean MRI and chest x-ray at the end of August. I've had a nagging cough for a while now...I've been trying to remember when it started but I think it's possible that I've had it since radiation. It feels like I have an itchy throat..it's not a deep cough by any means...I know that y'allcan'tdiagnose me or anything but was just wondering if anyone else deals with this too. It's junta little scarey for me b/c even though I've had those clean scans, everytime I cough I automatically have nightmares of the cancer being in my lungs. A huge part of me knows that isn't likely, but now it's always a possibility. Just needed to tell someone about my irrational fears...my husband is very supportive but he doesn't want to hear me talk about things like that and frankly I don't want to put that on him either. I knew y'all would understand!

ToBeGolden's picture
Posts: 695
Joined: Aug 2010

I might suggest a trip to your Primary Care Physician. We H&N Warriors have a good chance of aspiration, leading to aspiration pneumonia. (My PCP told me that aspiration on swallowing is not as bad as aspiration of stomach contents.) I also think that small amounts of fluid may be aspirated without you noticing an additional amount of coughing.

If you tell your tale correctly, you may get some antibiotics. I'm not a big fan of antibiotics, but it may be diagnostic in your case. (I'm being treated for aspiration pneumonia. In my case, the aspiration is through the voice prosthesis. But I'm certain there are other causes for leaks in radiated and surgically altered patients.)

Billie67's picture
Posts: 843
Joined: Jul 2012

I'm dealing with the very thing right now. I'm 14 1/2 weeks out and was having your same concerns. Saw my surgeon/ENT last week and my rad onc yesterday so they could both go over my NED scans with me. I asked them both about the cough. Scans show my lungs are clear but inflamed due to rads. They both tell me this is very common. The swelling can make the lungs pneumonia like which is what's happening in my case. I've been on antibiotics for a week now and it's slowly getting better. Rad onc said the rads do affect the very tops of our lungs and cause this in most H&N cases. I would for sure discuss this with one of your docs just in case you need some antibiotics too.
Good luck.

CivilMatt's picture
Posts: 4301
Joined: May 2012


For a while after treatments and still once in a while. I would get a little tickle in my throat followed by a few cough, cough, cough. It has pretty much ended, it usually happens around dry mouth time when I am getting ready to drink some water.

If the thought of it is keeping you up, visit your doctor. You know we are all paranoid for a very good reason. Every little thing bugs me, what’s that, is that normal. I have my sensors turned on high and I still can’t get an accurate read on myself. To this day, I never felt sick (but I was).

Good luck, I bet it is nothing.



Posts: 1914
Joined: May 2012

Hey there ! We all have those fleeting thoughts of reoccurrance. I agree check with your primary...could just be viral. You have a good group of doctors on your side, and they will watch your back. We defineatly understand your feelings and validate them always ! Be better soon girl ! katie

Posts: 307
Joined: Mar 2012

Hi Meagan,

You said it is not a deep cough but more like a itchy throat cough? Seems to be just dry throat? I get cough if i forget to drink water for half an hour or so. You may want to do a small test where you make sure to drink water every 10 mins for two hours and see if you get cough. I get very dry on the right side of ny throat where they have removed my salivary gland. The left side salivery gland is fried in rads but looks like little bit is working. My cough is always induced by itchyness on the right side throat and if i remember to drink water i dont get cough.

As always, best to be checked by doc and yes all of us on this site completely understand the fear ....it nags all of us.


fisrpotpe's picture
Posts: 1349
Joined: Aug 2010

my cough has been around for many years.

i have lost one of my vocal cords probably due to the radiation treatments. so what happens the way i as a lay person understands at best is that moist get on the one one active cord more than it would if two cords were active. so once the cord has the moisture on it somehow the body/mind/nerves react automatically and want to cough and get the moisture off the cord.

i suggest you go see your ent for their thoughts and also to a speech pathologist. the SP will probably do a swallow test to review. for some there is a fix for the inactive cord. they can with a needle put a filler behind the inactive cord to close the opening so the cords can touch. for me they can not get to it as my jaw and tongue will not allow enough room to get in to the cords. so all in all the radiation is a gift that keeps on giving.

no way do i think this is your problem, it is mine. so again go see your ent and sp.

it's not bad until it is bad.


fisrpotpe's picture
Posts: 1349
Joined: Aug 2010

opps double post, sorry

but like my cough it happened twice and nothing i can do about it.... just accept as my new normal and move on

meaganb's picture
Posts: 243
Joined: May 2012

Thanks for the replies guys! I have an appt with my ENT next week, I just need to remember to write down questions so I know what to ask about. I don't think its anything bad, probably just from being dry or still a little irritated from the Rads. I think I healed so well for the most part that sometimes I want to believe I won't have any lingering side effects...probably not the case though. Thanks again for all of your input!

Skiffin16's picture
Posts: 8286
Joined: Sep 2009

OK, just cough....

I'm glad that John responded as it gives me some comfort sorta....

I have a little cough that I've had for awhile now, I'm over three years post Tx.

I too was concerned, talked to my MD's and had all of my exams that have shown clear and clean...

Chest X-Ray, PET and scope...

I did have a little mucous after the scope (when he pulled the scope out). So he put me on some meds which worked out good as I got this bug going around that takes like 3 - 4 weeks to get rid of...he gave me Cipro.

It seemed to knock the cough out for awhile also...but I still seem to have a little.

I don't have vocal cord problems that I'm aware.

The cough isn't deep or wet either, more a need to cough feeling, LOL.


Subscribe to Comments for "Cough"