I had my oncologist review the article I posted on this page about the squamous cell / medical marijuana connection and this was her thoughtful reply:
Hi Everyone - hope you are all staying safe and healthy through this pandemic. Quick question - has anyone experienced phantom smells? How about smell/taste disappearing again after it partially returned? I am dealing with both at the moment. My disgusting phantosmia is cigarette smoke which is something i am most certainly never near. This is awful. That started a week ago the day my smell/taste decided to disappear again (COVID19 not a concern since I've been in total isolation). Thanks in advance for any responses!
you are a lucky man to have an oncologist who has taken the time to respond so comprehensively to your enquiry. I have followed your posts with interest as I have had passing thoughts about medical cannabis myself over the journey. Will you now use it after digesting your oncologists thoughts?
Hey Jen - its interesting timing that you get this symptom during the pandemic, and impairment to smell and taste have been circulated as possible signs of COVID infection.
They are also signs of other general infections, especially if they're already impaired somewhat from chemo/radiation. But they can also be signs of cancer and other problems with the body, nerves & brain.
I've never experienced it, but my comment would be to take it pretty seriously and report it at your earliest convenience, to get medical advice. (Saying this because you hinted about being in total isolation, so might be a bit unlikely to seek the advice?)
I've had taste impairment from the chemoradiation, but it was an initial drop (complete loss) during chemo, to rancid-taste dysgeusia, followed by slow receovery where it came back over a long period of time (iterative slow improvements over a year, plateauing out at about 80%ish of where it was pre-treatment). No experience with loss of smell.
For me the big concern is if these changes have come on recently, and there's no clear reason for them. I'd just urge you to get checked out.
I just wanted to thank you for starting and sustaining this invaluable thread. Just wading through all the advice and experiences.
I have head and neck cancer but my cancer started in my p arotid g l and that was removed to now having Terminal Sinus Cancer with mets to my lungs. In 2017 i was told i was going to die within 6 months that was 3 years ago and today i am still fighting cancer and still not winning but i am still alive. However although i have be through the mill of having Chemo for 11 months Cisplatin 9 months of Immunotherapy and 7 weeks of Radiation. My last radiation was in February 2020 lasting another 3 weeks but ever since my last treatment i have completely lost my mind and unsure why all of a sudden i am suffering severe anxiety. I feel like my whole nervous system has been shot. I cant understand why i am so overwhelmed by this now because before i was doing really well and only getting fatigue but picking up really well but this time i am suffering severe anxiety that i no longer sleep in my bed with my wife and everytime she gives me a hug i feel like i am scared that i am being suffocated and cant breathe. Even putting on warm clothes for the winter i hate wearing because i feel like i am being choked. Not sure if you have heard other head and neck cancer sufferers have experienced this but i certainly dont know why i am experiencing this this time round because other times i got through my treatments well.
Please let us know your own feelings of fatigue because i am wondering this time did they damage something in my head during my radiation because radiation does bother me a lot as last year my brother during his radiation under his arm caused his lungs to go fibrous and losing my brother 4 weeks after his treatment. He was a healthy man then deteriorated so quickly. This is why i am wondering did the treatment to my frontal sinus with radiation damage some nerves to my brain causing this anxiety.
Get well soon mate and keep up the fight.
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