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Chemo Rads or Just Radiation

Posts: 1
Joined: Feb 2014

God Bless you all for sharing! :)

I am a 49 yr old Non smoker in excellent shape with a wife and two wonderful children. Then 2 yrs ago I was found to have HNSCC HPV pos

They did a modified neck disection and transoral surgery to remove the primary from the base of my tongue.

Surgeons thought they'd caught it early enough and radiation was not needed. 18 months later new lymph nodes showed up both sides of my neck and uder my jaw.

oooops anyway starting in November I had the 9 week therapy Cis/Taxotere/5FU. Post TPF PET was completely negative for cancer. YEAAA!!!  But now I'm on day 12 of

Cisplatin and Radiation to a very large feild and I have concerns about the long term side affects.

Any thoughts on chemo radiation following induction chemo vs radiation only ??? 

Thanks and God Bless you all !!


CivilMatt's picture
Posts: 4301
Joined: May 2012


Welcome to the H&N forum, your story begins like many of us “surprise you have cancer”.  Not very eloquent, sorry about that.

I was given many combinations of choices and I chose surgery (bot & neck) followed by rads and Erbitux.   First off, I wanted it out (surgery) and second I wanted all remnants gone (rads &  Erbitux).  We call it the scorched earth policy.

There is a lot of good information that chemo works well in conjunction with rads.  Also, rads or surgery alone work well.  The later you have proven not so much.     

To be completely honest, you really have to adjust to a “new normal” after rads.  At almost 2 years post my taste and saliva are far from normal, but they are not bad.  I am not unhappy with my decisions to go the route I did and it is hands down better than life with cancer.

Good luck on your decision, I hope you really kill the monster.



Duggie88's picture
Posts: 703
Joined: Feb 2010

I also had stage 4 cancer at the base of my tongue. My surgeon recomended a full neck disection to remove part of the tongue, my epiglotis and a few lymph nodes and then follow it up with a 30 rad chaser. As my buddy Matt stated you get use to the changes affiliated with with radiation and life goes on. As you will hear often on here, all cases are different and you have to follow what the doctor(s) order providing your trust is with them. Stay positive because that is a very big part of the battle. That is where this site will help you out. There are many great people patroling here who will reach out and grab your hand and walk the journey with you. You are not alone as you may have have seen when you opened the door to this clubhouse and you will find the road ahead was traveled by many in this room and we are all here to fill in the potholes on your road.

Fight on and don't look back.


Skiffin16's picture
Posts: 8286
Joined: Sep 2009

JK, myself having similar Tx.., the rads is really the worse part.., so if the MDs suggest both, I'd go with it.., and myself did..


The big inductuon, then concurrent Carboplatin weekly for seven with the daily rads. 

The Carboplatin for me was mild, nothing like the TPF.. They explained to me that the concurrent chemo allowed the rads to be more effective. 




phrannie51's picture
Posts: 4672
Joined: Mar 2012

You've found the best, most supportive forum on the internet! 

I'm a firm believer in the "scorched earth policy" myself.  Cisplatin can have some long term side effects, but most of the long term side effects come from rads, so since you're getting them anyway, buck them up with the chemo....leave none of those little cancer cells a chance to carry on.


Crazymom's picture
Posts: 339
Joined: Nov 2011

I had 6 weeks of chemo and then 6 weeks of radiation.  It has been 2 years...I think having the chemo then radiation is easier than having both at the same time and my doctor thinks that there may less damage to the neck and fewer swallowing problems if they are done separately.  It is difficult to have both, but your chances of survival are better if you havee both radiation and chemo.  The side effects are lack of taste and reduced capacity in the salivary glands, but I am alive and hope to stay that way....good luck   Ann

hwt's picture
Posts: 2330
Joined: Jun 2012

2012 my cancer was of jaw, lymph node involvement. Surgery, Cispalatin and rads completed 05/2012. Recurrence 08/2013 around carotid artery. Zapped w/SBRT at Mayo and gone but new recurrence on opposite side. Decision for Taxol/Erbitux to kill any microscopic cells then back for more SBRT. My opinion, hit it with everything you can.

Good luck and God Bless

debbiejeanne's picture
Posts: 3095
Joined: Jan 2010

jk, was dx with laryngeal cancer 8/09, rads only.  recurrence 2/12.  often wonder if that would have happened if i had had chemo :0(  anyway, total laryngectomy and neck dissection and been cancer free since, yesterday was my 2 yr anniv.  wanted to tell you that you've found a great place to be as you go thru tx.  we will all be here for you whenever and for what ever you need us.  i think we all have lingering effects of rads but nothing so bad it ruins our life.  we all live a pretty good life and you will too.  the road will get bumpy but before you know it, it will be in your rearview mirror and you'll be celebrating.  keep us posted as we'll be on the sidelines cheering you on!!

God bless,


donfoo's picture
Posts: 1644
Joined: Dec 2012

Hi jk,

Welcome to CSN! Glad you are getting treatment now and wish you the best. As you know there are only two ways to kill cancer: suegery and radation. Chemo an kill micro cancer cells but not any larger visible tumors. Glad you are getting rads now along with chemo., This is a proven course o therapy and it may be brutal on the body it is one o the best ways to KILL cancer. Good luck, don

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