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Can use some advise Tongue & Neck Cancer IVa

Posts: 1
Joined: Sep 2013

My husband has a tumor at the base of his tongue & 4 tumors in his neck (left side). He started Chemo & Rad 2 weeks ago.  I am doing my best to keep his spirits up but this is a difficult task.  This morning he woke with a very sore mouth. If anyone has any suggestions please let me know.  He has tried the special toothpaste & mouth wash but he says that it makes his mouth feel sticky.  Any suggestions will be gratefully appreciated. 

MarineE5's picture
Posts: 909
Joined: Dec 2005


On the very first posting on this page is the SuperThread which is a sticky and you will find allot of helpful information there along the stages of the treatments and afterwards.

One thing that I used during my Radiation treatments was the Baking Soda and Salt solution as a Gargle/rinse/spit. The Nurses suggested that I use it several times a day and it took the edge off of my discomfort. The solution is 1 teaspoon of baking soda, 1 teasoon of salt mixed in 1 quart of room temperature water. Your husband can gargle/rinse and spit as often as he feels he needs to do so.

Around week 4 or 5 in my treatments, I increased the amounts of Baking soda and Salt to 1 Tablespoon of each in the 1 quart of water. This is not a cure all, but helpful, your husband may need to take some pain med's also. I would use the rinse just prior to eating to take the edge off of eating when I could. I did have the PEG Tube to fall back on which I did.

Keep asking questions here as there are allot of knowledgeable people here that have traveled this road.

My Best to Both of You and Everyone Here

phrannie51's picture
Posts: 4673
Joined: Mar 2012

our little slice of the internet.

His mouth is starting to feel the effects of the radiation.....dry mouth (well desert mouth, actually)....and it will get dryer than sticky.  I too kept a one liter bottle of soda/salt solution on my counter, and did many swish and spits every day.  I also kept a one liter bottle of L-gultamine powder mixed with water next to my chair for swishing and swallowing.....and a liter of plain water (probably went through 2 or 3 of the plain water per day).  Down the road a bit...around the 3rd week of rads, I started drinking milk....it gives the illusion of having spit for a longer period than water does.  It also has the side effect of giving needed calories, and lots of hydration. 

If his mouth gets too sore, there is a concoction called Magic Mouth Wash.....it is made up of lidocaine, nystatin, and something else (having a brain fart here).....it numbs the mouth in order to get Ensure, smoothies, water, whatever down the hatch, as he must keep swallowing during treatment....to keep those swallow muscles working. 

I used Mugard (a presciption medicine) during rads and missed out on having a horribly sore mouth, the stuff really worked for me....ask the Oncologist about both the Mugard and Magic Mouth Wash....most Onc's will do whatever they have to, to make their patients comfortable.

Keep close to this forum....you're going to have more questions....and this is the best place on the internet to get them answered.


CivilMatt's picture
Posts: 4317
Joined: May 2012


Welcome to the H&N forum!

I always had a ½ gallon of the soda / salt mixture at the ready and was rinsing and spitting often,  For pain mouth, tongue and throat soreness I was a big user of the Magic Mouth Wash (went through 6 bottles).  I used it just before bed time and before rads and throughout the day.

As much as it hurts tell him to keep swallowing and drinking  water or whatever he can, it is important.  It will likely be a bit intense till a couple weeks past treatments and then it will get better.  For me, once I discovered Magic Mouth Wash, I was able to manage the discomfort; I hope he finds something which works for him.


hwt's picture
Posts: 2330
Joined: Jun 2012

I tried but was unable to do the soda/salt...too painful. MMW is maalox,benedryl,lidocaine & nystatin. I don't have a better memory than Phrannie, just happen to have a bottle of it sitting here. It says 1 tsp. but I found it took 2 tsp. to do a really good job for me. I was also good with milk and smoothies. Seemed something a little thicker than water was easier for me. Like Matt says, it is extrememly important to keep swallowing, even if on a feeding tube. If you do not continue to swallow a person can lose the ability. It's a short term tx and you certainly don't want to add a long term effect. Hopefully, your husband won't be afraid to take pain meds if that helps.  

debbiejeanne's picture
Posts: 3095
Joined: Jan 2010

dianeLA, u've come to the right place to get answers.  u've already received good info and i'm sure others will chime in if they have more suggestions.  i just want to wish u the best and encourage you 2 come here often.


Posts: 307
Joined: Mar 2012



i too used mugard and recommend it like Phrannie. if your insurance does not cover mugard you can talk to them directly and cover it for you. I also added caphasol towards the end.


i used to swish fresh aloe vera juice also, that helped a bit too. I used fresh aloe vera on neck too. It typically is available in farmers market or some asian stores.


robswife87's picture
Posts: 208
Joined: Mar 2013

If you would like to try the Mugard, which saved my husband, I have 2 bottles left that I can send to you. Our hospital has been using this in their H & N patients for a while. 

A lor of inusance companies have a very high co-pay on this. I was able to get it at no cost so I am more than willing to pass it on to anyone who needs it.

Just let me know


cadharose's picture
Posts: 52
Joined: May 2013

By special mouthwash, do you mean Magic Mouthwash? Sticky might be better than sore. If he hasn't tried that, definitely give it a try. Also, prescription pain meds which doctors usually have no problem prescribing for those going through this.

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