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Terrible smell toward end of Tx....Is it from the Radiation?

cureitall66's picture
Posts: 912
Joined: Aug 2012

Hi Everyone...

So now he says he keeps smelling something terrible...like a sulfur smell...just terrible.
Is this just the effects from radiation? Or could it be from the prescription cream they have him putting on his neck. He says no matter where he goes he smells it and it's making him sick to his stomach. He even kind of tastes it in his mouth.

This normal? What is it? What can you do to help eliminate it?

Posts: 344
Joined: Sep 2012

My husband hasn't complained of that , yet. The one thing I might worry about is that it could be some kind of infection in his mouth. Hopefully others may know


ratface's picture
Posts: 1320
Joined: Aug 2009

is commonly prescribed for radiation burns and could very well be what he is smelling. In addition the sense of smell can get really refined and becomes much more efficient for some reason I have no knowledge of. I remember being able to smell cigarette smoke, perfumes, and dryer vents with a strange new found ability. Once my taste returned my sense of smell went back to it's limited self?

CivilMatt's picture
Posts: 4555
Joined: May 2012

Hi Cris,

There is a condition around here known as bionic nose. You smell many things intensely. For me it was the Jevity (PEG food). I could smell it a mile away and I did not like it. Skiffin smelled things during rads, I tried but got nothing. For me the Silver Sulfadiazine Cream never was obnoxious, matter-of-fact it worked so well it could have smelled like skunk I liked it so much. I think it is sensitive nose, but where there is sulfur smell there is often fire, better check around. The real tell is if you do or don’t smell it too.



Posts: 660
Joined: Mar 2012

smell something, not real sure about taste. I would ask my wife or whom ever was with me if they were smelling something and then I would try to describe it, the answer was NO so I assumed it was just me. Cannot tell you what it was or why, not much of an issue now that Im 11 weeks out of tx.

cureitall66's picture
Posts: 912
Joined: Aug 2012

I have a very strong sense of smell and I do not smell it. That's why I'm thinking it's the radiation tx(after all, it is "cooking" flesh right? ) and not the cream. He says he smells it on towels, his kleenex, and he feels like he tastes it.

I teased him asking if he thinks he was passing gas and he kindly shook his head no...LOL. I was just trying to lighten the mood. Guess he didn't find much humor in it. :)


CivilMatt's picture
Posts: 4555
Joined: May 2012


Passing gas would definitely answer it, but burning flesh does not smell like sulfur (generally). I think Skiffin and other described an ozone like smell (what ever that is). Don’t get me wrong, during rads I tried real hard to taste, feel or smell something but got nothing, but then again, I was wearing a mask.


blackswampboy's picture
Posts: 341
Joined: Jul 2012

oh yeah, I got the 'ozone' smell. but it was only a minute or two toward the beginning of rads session, then it faded. disturbing--like scorched flesh. *shudder*

phrannie51's picture
Posts: 4704
Joined: Mar 2012

I had it, too, during treatment. I could have done tracking competitions with my German Shepherd during that time. If he's using the burn cream that Matt used, then he probably can smell sulfa...and with his new abilities, I imagine it IS strong.


Skiffin16's picture
Posts: 8299
Joined: Sep 2009

Like BSB, I would get the ozone smell right at the beginning of rads.

It's a very destinctive smell...where I work, there is some elctronics rooms with ozone generators in them....once you smell it, you always remember that smell.

With Kreg, it could very well just be him that he is smelling....

With the throat so tore up, I can easily imagine the smell..., but it's also probably a bit of taste combined withthe smell...that he is smelling.

Burnt, raw, flesh from insidde the throat.

Dawn (sweetblood) use to smell it too...she eventually figured out, it was herself she was smelling...


Billie67's picture
Posts: 898
Joined: Jul 2012

I started having increased sense of smell a little more than halfway thru rads. I also could detect a burnt flesh type smell. I didn't use the same cream as Matt used so I am sure what I smelled was my burnt skin. It's funny, my dog who is like my shadow and won't leave my side wouldn't get near me during that time. I remember telling my husband that he could smell what I could smell and he didn't like it either. As soon as my burns were almost gone the smell went away and my dog started hanging around me again. My husband could never smell it or was just trying to be nice, not sure. I really am convinced it was my torched skin and I felt as tho I could taste it too. I did mention it to my rad RN and she said they hear that complaint from time to time.

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