head and neck cancer - radiation treatment and losing weight


head and neck cancer - radiation treatment and losing weight

I'm having 7 weeks radiation treatment plus 3 chemo treatments interspersed... As of current plan my last treatment is around middle of May...


I'm at that stage that even drinking water is painful... I hold saliva in my mouth for as long as I can because obviously swallowing that isn't a barrel of fun either.  I'm on a liquid diet (Ensure and Sustagens)... 


Radiologist kinda told me off today for losing too much weight .   Sort of goes with the territory 😞   Mentioned something about reporting it to my oncology doctor who I am seeing on Thursday and something about having to do my scan again.  She seemed almost angry.


If they have to rescan me due to weight loss is that such a big deal?  Or is it going to cost me a fortune to have it done anyway?  I'm going thru this as a private patient - not public.  


Has this happened to anyone else?  I'm just trying to figure out why she made me feel so bad...


Super Contributor

Re: head and neck cancer - radiation treatment and losing weight

It's not like you're deliberately trying to lose weight. Some doctors!
I suppose she was getting angry because if they have to rescan you ,they might have to do more little tattoos. You're make extra work for them - how dare you? Did you have tattoos or a mask? I've had about 8 dots tattooed on me over the years.

Re: head and neck cancer - radiation treatment and losing weight


Hi...  Both - the mask, and tattoos I had the stick on ones, not the permanent tattoos... but that's their job isn't it? Doing those things?  Isn't that part of it?  Anyhow, she told me this morning she'd spoken to my oncology doctor about my weight loss and they looked into it and he said I'll be fine but try not to loose to much more - ha ha... well that's not like something I can promise... I'm not trying to lose it now... it's just coming off... mind you, I started with spare weight to begin with so as far as I'm concerned I'm hardly at risk of malnutrition although I gather thats not what bothered her - the radiation program was set up for me at the weight I was when I started, not the weight I am now... but seeing as mostly everyone does lose weight with cancer you'd think they'd factor that in... no?

New Contributor

Re: head and neck cancer - radiation treatment and losing weight

Hi, I know this is a couple months off, but wanted to reply in case someone else sees this looking for answers. I had squamous cell carcinoma of the tonsil, went through 35 doses of radiation and 7 weekly chemo treatments. At my last follow up weigh in (mid June) I was at 169 lbs. When I started treatments I was close to 220. My Drs weren’t overly concerned about my weight loss, and encouraged me to keep eating what I could. The nurses responsible for my radiation treatment were really supportive about the weight loss and even had a positive attitude about having to rescan me when I dropped too much weight (thankfully I didn’t have any tattoos because I happen to have a freckle in the perfect spot). I’m sorry your team seemed so negative about it. I feel that they shouldn’t have been so harsh. I loved working with both my radiation and chemo people. They were all so positive and supportive which I feel made all the difference in my treatment course.

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