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HELP..doctors change their opinion about second time radiation??

Posts: 44
Joined: Feb 2013

Both doctors change their opinion about second time radiation??

So both of my husband’s doctors are suggesting to see some one at university for any clinical trials if there is any.

My husband story:

Diagnosed with stage 4 hpv originate head and neck cancer

36 radiation treatments done/ high does for Chemo done and after 3 months PAT/CAT neck dissection done and they found active cancer cells in there.

Now both radiologist and oncologist are suggestion to see someone at university for any qualify clinical trials.

Any suggestion would be helpful

My husband is only 36 year old and we live in Chicago.



luv2cut1's picture
Posts: 288
Joined: Oct 2010

Hi Hetal,

I don't know where you are being treated now, but I would definitely recommend going to the University got explore options. My husband was treated for stage 2 scc of epiglottis in 2008. 6 weeks of radiation plus once per week chemo for six weeks. Cancer recurred in neck in early 2009. He had radical neck dissection.  Opinions were all over the place As to further treatment. His medical and radiation oncologist said no more radiation. The ENT who did the surgery pushed for a second opinion. Second opinion said they would do the radiation, but side effects would be very debilitating. They also said chance for a cure was minimal without radiation. We finally went to the University of Colorado. They encouraged radiation and said while the side effects could be debilitating, they thought they could do the radiation successfully and my husband could have a good quality of life. We decided to do the radiation again. Full dose along with once per week chemo for six weeks. Four years later my husband is doing great! From our standpoint, the University had many more options at its disposal, and their confidence gave us the confidence to make the scary choices. No matter what you choose to do, I wish you the very best. I remember all too well what being in limbo was like. 

Posts: 44
Joined: Feb 2013

Thanks for your input and we are seeing dr next week at univercuty of chicago.



fishmanpa's picture
Posts: 1216
Joined: Jan 2013

Hi Hetal,

This is discouraging I know but hang in there! Your best bet is dealing with a CCC and Chicago has two Nationally ranked centers. Norhwestern Memorial is ranked #14 and the University of Chicago Medical Center is ranked #31. They would be privy to the latest technology, treatments and trials that are available. If travel is an option then the options are greater. I was treated at Johns Hopkins which is #1 for Head and Neck cancer. I can't speak highly enough of my team and the treatment I received. My RO and ENT/Surgeon are some of the very best in the country. PM me is you'd like more info, names etc. 

Here is a link to the top cancer hospitals in the country.


My thoughts and prayers are with you. 





Posts: 44
Joined: Feb 2013

I will keep this infor in mind and will make decision after we see dr at univercity of chicago.

Tahnks for your massage.


Posts: 20
Joined: Oct 2011

Hello   I remember when my husband had a reoccurance a year out, we also needed a second opinion.We went to the University of Chicago and wish we would have started there. He sees several docs in different departmets and we are happy with all of them. Best of luck. Also, all large hospitals have a second opinion phone # which makes it easy to get the appointments quickly.  Best of luck.

Hondo's picture
Posts: 6643
Joined: Apr 2009

If I remember right with me it had something to do with bone mass being able to take radiation twice to the same area. I was told there are only a small 2% of people who can. Give me a ring.



Posts: 757
Joined: Apr 2012

Getting another opinion at a bigger cancer center is the way to go.  But I note in your other post, that you said your husband had or finished radiation in March 2013 and that could be why his doctors are saying no to a second round so close to the first.  Radiation is the gift that keeps giving and could be that the new radiation would do more damage than the first so close together.  My husband finished his first round of 35 radiation treatments in October 2010 and finished his second round of 35 radiation treatments in July 2012.  His cancer reoccurred at the same spot and they said no more radiation.  They worry about the cartoid arteries and the spine and he was being treated at Emory Cancer Center.


jim and i's picture
jim and i
Posts: 1788
Joined: May 2011

At his age he should try until someone gives him the second radiation.

Praying for you both. Debbie

longtermsurvivor's picture
Posts: 1845
Joined: Mar 2010

Sorry, I'm still not clear on the situation.  Was it that there were positive nodes on the neck dissection?  Or was there another area that was biopsied and found to contain cancer, not related to the nodes?

Posts: 44
Joined: Feb 2013

tehy found more cancer cell when they did neck dissection.

sin9775's picture
Posts: 199
Joined: May 2013

I am so sorry you and your husband have to make this kind of decision.  What side of Chicago are you on?  If you live on the North side, checking out the Cancer Center of America, in Zion, Il wouldn't be too bad of a drive at all

for a second opinion, and perhaps even treatment.  I will pray that you will find your way to the right decision.


GavinP's picture
Posts: 114
Joined: Feb 2013

It's terrible that your husband is in what should basically the prime of his life and he (and you) are facing this terrible situation.

I'd say,

1. You need to find out if they are saying no to second dose radiation forever or just for now - As has been stated already, it could just be that they want some "recovery time" before doing any more.

2. Whatever the answer to point 1 is, going to a hospital that specialise's in H&N cancer/treatment sounds like a good idea to me - I'm from the UK and don't know much about the US health care system, but I suspect theres a lot more avenue's open to you than we would have here and given your husband's young age you should explore ALL those avenue's if you can.

All the best and keep us posted however it turns out.

Posts: 20
Joined: Oct 2011

Hello Hetal     I do believe the University of Chicago is known for head and neck cancer.

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