Oncology Questions? Ask an Oncologist for Answers ASAP
This is Dr. David
I am glad you have completed chemotherapy and radiation for oral cancer
and I am glad that no cancer has come back.
if your cancer comes back, you can get additional treatment,
but at this point, if there is no oral cancer, you don't need treatments.
are you following up with your doctors to get your mouth checked every few months?
Yes I am Dr. David but at times I am not convinced they are listening to details of side effects that I am suffering e.g. some antibiotics prescribed have had no effect. Maybe it is a psychological barrier that I have and was wondering whether or not a reduced dosage may be beneficial?
what side effects are you having?
why did you have antibiotics?
Dry mouth, pains/aches in scar tissue area, which has not fully healed over, "glue ear" and associated symptoms (largely resolved through surgery) constant congestion.
Because they were prescribed along with painkillers
dry mouth is from radiation destroying the salivary glands in the mouth. this is a long term side effect which will not be fixed by antibiotics.
there are medications like salagen and evoxac which might help dry mouth.
also there is artificial saliva sprays like biotine products which might help with dry mouth.
pains and aches in the scar tissue area need to be stretched.
did your doctors tell you to stretch your jaw and mouth and neck after radiation? this is very important to do to stretch the scar tissue.
scar tissue can only be stretched for the first 4-8 months after radiation, then the scar tissue becomes permanent and can't be stretched.
when did you finish your radiation?
The antibiotics were not for dry mouth.
radiation finished end of July 2012, restricted opening of jaw did not fully evidence itself until fe/march this year and I was given exercises to do including use of a Therabyte tool
you should have been given exercises to do when your radiation finished in July 2012.
to prevent the jaw stiffness
1 year later it is hard to stretch the jaw since the scar tissue is already hard.
I am a radiation oncology doctor
and give radiation to mouth cancers for many patients.
when patients finish radiation, I always tell them to do neck and jaw stretching immediately after finishing radiation.
OK thanks for that. I was advised that jaw stiffness could occur at any time post therapy when I enquired why it had taken 7-8 months to manifest itself. I had been receiving Lymphoedema massage until Januray and no signs of jaw stiffness until thereatfer.
I will just have to raise these issues again at my next OPC
try the therabyte tool.
it can be slow and painful.
ask for pain medication to help you stretch.
but this is called a late reaction from radiation.
which could have been prevented if you had the therabite earlier.
best of luck to you
let me know if you have other questions
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One final Q so additional chimo would not be helpful unless the cancer returns?
yes, additional chemo would not be necessary unless the cancer returns.