Neck radiotherapy - it hurts to swallow!

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Neck radiotherapy - it hurts to swallow!

I got diagnosed with stage 1 cancer of the larynx about a month ago, and am now in the final week of a radiotherapy course. It causes some really painful side effects and I was looking for advice from other who have been through it. And I have never been a smoker, nor a heavy drinker, and am only 50 with young kids........
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Super Contributor

Re: Neck radiotherapy - it hurts to swallow!

Hi David Radiotherapy to head and neck does get pretty tough towards the end of your treatment. Are you taking any pain killers at all and if so what in particular? It takes a while for the effects of rt to subside, so just be prepared for that one. In saying that it does get better over time. Are you able to maintain your oral hygiene? How's your skin hanging in there? Hang in there it does finish and then slowly starts to get better. Julie
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Contributor

Re: Neck radiotherapy - it hurts to swallow!

Hi David I used Xylocaine Viscous to numb my mouth/throat so I could eat. I squirted it on my sore/ulcerated areas with a dropper so as not to numb my whole mouth. It numbed immediately and wore off about 45 minutes later, allowing relatively comfortable food intake. I used aloe vera gel on my cheek and neck which took the heat out immediately and kept my skin smooth and non-blistered. I have thought since I should have tried aloe vera juice to rinse and swallow to see if it helped inside as much as it did outside. Prayers for good health/healing and well-being, (((hugs))) Pamela 🙂
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Occasional Contributor

Re: Neck radiotherapy - it hurts to swallow!

G'Day David, Welcome to the group. I had RT for 6 weeks to mouth and neck. I hit a wall with food intake, and was entirely on liquid. May I recommend the pre-mixed protein milk drinks, if food hurts too much. Main pain was in my mouth, but my throat was not flash either. Was on Sustagen Hospital Formula powder, mixing it myself. Very late in the process I found out that this stings because the granules don't fully dissolve, whereas the pre-mixed ones did not cause me any pain at all. Various brands, my preferred was Fortisip, choc or strawberry. Your dietician can organise them for you, and the company which supplies them has a home delivery service, provided you order about 24 at a time. I lost 30kg, and was at my wits end until I discovered that the Fortisip didn't hurt. From there I didn't look back, but by crikey it was hard work until then. And be sure to use the sorbalene on your skin. And finally, IT DOES get better. Takes longer than one would like, but it does improve. I finished treatment on April 27, and was a complete wreck. Now I am in remission, fully fit, working full time, playing cricket and eating everything bar spicy food, which I was never fond of to begin with. Easy for me to say from the other side of the treatment, but hang in there. Regards, Mark.
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Super Contributor

Re: Neck radiotherapy - it hurts to swallow!

I always feel like it is easy to say after treatment is finished, but I hope the person realises that we were all in their shoes at one stage or another and have come out the other end. 🙂 As with Mark I am back to work fulltime plus and loving it. I was a total wreck after treatment and pretty much weak as a kitten and a damaged soul really. My skin was quite bad and I only just sneaked the last couple of rt's through. Tinned spaghetti was a good one for me as it just slid down the throat. Hang in there David and it will soon be over. Rest up as much as you can and just be kind to yourself and get through this last bit the best way you can. Julie
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