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Damage to saliva glands

Kell82's picture
Posts: 16
Joined: Dec 2012

It's me again Laughing 

I promised my dad I would try to find out some things that he has questions about before he starts his radiation on Thursday

I have read so many posts but just wasn't sure-

When you take radiation does it destroy your saliva glands and if so do they repair themselves after the radiation is over?  How many radiation treatments does it take to affect the glands?

phrannie51's picture
Posts: 4673
Joined: Mar 2012

in terms that radiation "affects the saliva glands" rather in terms of "destroy"....Laughing  My mouth was pretty darn dry by the end of the second week....tho I didn't lose my tastebuds for another week.  The time it takes to get it back after treatment varies....and some people never get it back....most do, however.

I'm 8 months out of radiation and still have dry mouth....tho I don't wake up in the morning any more with a tongue that I could use to knock on doors....LOL.  I can lick my lips, again.....too.  I still need water to get meals down....except for soup.  I fully expect to get more and more back as time goes on.


Skiffin16's picture
Posts: 8286
Joined: Sep 2009

Rads defiitely damage the salivary glands, but they do heal to some degree, if not nearly entirely...

Some like myself, regain nearly if not all salivary function, a very few have nearly no damage..., but no damage is not the norm.

Myself as with many, both taste and saliva were way off, to nearly non-existant for many weeks/months. Slowly...very very slowly, they both started to return. A few months post treatment, I could definitely survive on what I had regained.

It took nearly two years, but I'd say that I got back 100% taste, and maybe 95% saliva..., only drying at night during sleep.

Best ~ John

Billie67's picture
Posts: 843
Joined: Jul 2012

Do have taste and saliva changes during treatment. I noticed my taste changing about 2 weeks in to radiation and I started getting dry maybe around 3 or weeks.
I am now 7 months out from treatment and I'd say I have about 85% of my taste back, definitely enough to survive and thrive if this end up being all I get back. My saliva is a bit slower to return but I'm hopeful that it will in the near future.
We are all different and some don't have many changes at all. Today I had Thai food and it was plenty yummy, there is life after treatment :-)

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