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Last week we hosted a live webchat
on head and neck cancers with specialist nurse Josie Buchan from our Macmillan
Head and neck cancers can include
eye cancer, nasal and paranasal cancer, nasopharyngeal cancer, mouth cancer, oropharyngeal,
larynx, laryngeal and salivary gland. Some of these cancer types can cause
difficulties with eating or speaking.
Here are the questions and answers from our live
chat. Thanks very much to Josie for taking part.
If you’d like to know more, take a look at the head and neck cancer pages of
our website. Or, to talk to a nurse like Josie, call our free Macmillan Support
Line on 0808 808 0000 (Monday-Friday, 9am-8pm).
I am just
over 8 weeks from finishing radiotherapy (30 sessions) and I had my tonsils
out and a neck dissection in February. I am coming along quite well. My neck
and the surrounding area is still numb from February. I also have dry mouth.
What sort of time period are we looking at for things to start to return to
Glad to hear you’re doing well. It can take up to six months to
recover from treatment. We have a page on our website about coping with a dry mouth caused by radiotherapy, which
might be helpful for you.
for your reply. I am under pressure to return to work but no where near fit
I’m sorry to hear that. Take your time about going back to work and
look after yourself. We have some information on our website about returning to work, which
covers things like meeting with your employer, a phased return to work and
finished my treatment (35 radiotherapy sessions, plus three chemotherapy) in
March, for cancer of the glotis and supraglotis. I have a number of well-known
side effects but one has developed which I was not expecting, namely,
sensitivity to noise. It could be any noise - music, loud voices, anything.
Is this known of? If so, is it long-term please?
This is a fairly unusual side effect from treatment. It might be an idea to speak to your GP
seeing my Ear, Nose and Throat consultant this afternoon.
Yes, do mention it to him/her.
diagnosis, I was both smoking and drinking. Whilst I will never smoke again,
can I drink alcohol socially in the future?
All things in moderation! And always make sure spirits are diluted
partner is currently having TPF and is due for his second chemo tomorrow. Is
it the Taxotere that makes him really nauseous and sick?
Yes, Taxotere can make you sick. If your partner is struggling then
I’d advise visiting his GP for more anti-sickness tablets.
We have some information on our website on Taxotere and its
side effects, and we also have a page on controlling
nausea and vomiting.
finishes the Taxotere tomorrow and has the remaining two with his 35 sessions
of radiotherapy. Do you think his sickness will ease? We’re a bit anxious and
don’t know what to expect.
Let the chemotherapy nurses know tomorrow and they will add in extra
anti-sickness. If you are anxious, it may also help to give us a call on 0808
808 0000 – we can talk you through your concerns.
Knowing what to expect from upcoming treatment can ease the worry a
little. So if you want to read up the side effects – have a look on our
website at the side effects of radiotherapy and
side effects of chemotherapy.
aloe vera gel drinks. Is there a possibility that my partner can drink these
whilst he is on active treatment?
I would ask your consultant about this as sometimes they can contra
indicate with treatment, meaning that they don’t agree with the treatment.
Here's a good,
trustworthy website about herbal products - www.mskcc.org. It recommends when to use them and when
not to, and is based on scientific evidence. The specific pag about herbs and
botanicals is http://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/integrative-medicine/about-herbs-botanicals-other-products.
years ago I had extensive surgery to remove a squamous cell carcinoma from
the floor of my mouth which involved a neck dissection and a flap replacement
to my mouth (twenty fractions of radiotherapy followed). However, although my
consultant explained that any numb feelings to the sides of my tongue and
lower lip are due to the treatment , they don't say if the feeling will ever
return. So, even after all this time, are the nerve endings still trying to
heal themselves, or is this something I will have to live with ?
after four years it’s unlikely the nerve endings will heal at this stage. It
can normally take up to six months after treatment to return to normal. If
this doesn’t happen then this may be something you have to live with.
My thanks to yourselves for posting and Nurse Josie for answering my question re : nerve endings after surgery. Guess this is something that I'll have to learn to live with after all ........ never mind !
Love Joycee xx
Glad to see you spotted this, Joycee, and sorry we didn't have a more positive response for you.
I have been suffering symptoms for three years that I have been up and down the Dr's with. My Dr just kept palming me off and saying I was just suffering alergies and doing nothing to help. My symptoms were severe and affecting my breathing and kept turning into infections and a couple of times I had to take steroids.
My symptoms started as a blockage that would not go away in the right side of my nose, then the sourrounding skin would swell and my lymphnode glands under my chin would swell. The swelling of my nose was so bad at times that my face would become disfigured and split the skin, causing infections. More recently my right eye has been bulging and my voice has changed and at times would completely disappear.
Everytime I saw my Dr he would make me feel like a hyperchondriach. The final straw was when I went for a routine pap smear and was diagnosed with HPV. I later learned I have cervical cancer. I have also very recently lost a lot of weight for no reason or cause and suffered extreme headaches and migraines. At first i put my symptoms down to Cervical Cancer but have since learned they are not typical symptoms.
Another serious infection began in my nose just over a week ago. I went to see a Dr but refused to see the usual one. Immediatly my new Dr looked at my three year record of symptoms and my recent cervical cancer diagnoses and seemed very cross I have been ignored for so long. I have been given a two week course of anti biotics to help with the serious infection i have in my face and referred me to a specialist; explaining his fears for nasal cancer and the newly discovered links to HPV and head and neck cancers.
I am so drained and sick at the moment and struggling to cope with my sickness, work and my role as a single mother to a little girl. i do not have any support from her father either and my mother is highly disabled. I am completely alone and trying to cope with everything.
Over the last few days I have been suffering random nose bleeds and my daughter who is 12 fears I am dying; despite the fact I have not told her anything because i do not have a deffinate diagnoses.
I really need some support to understand what is happening to me and how I cope with my daughters fears and when the time comes how I break the news to her. I am scared myself as I do not know what my future holds and my daughter is very perceptive. I feel cheated because of my Dr, all this could have been dealt with earlier had he not fobbed me off so many times.
Hello Chelle, I replied to one of your posts over in the Head and Neck Cancer group but it sounds like you would be best to talk to one of the specialist Macmillan nurses on the free Macmillan Support Line.
It's open Mon- Fri from 8.00am - 9.00pm on 0808 808 0000
So please try them now and speak to someone who will be able to help you.
i have no idea why that posted three times. lol
thank you joycee xx
Does anyone know if that number is free on a mobile? xx
The mobile providers that do not currently charge for calling Macmillan's support line are:
3, Orange, Virgin,
Vodafone, T-Mobile and O2.
Unfortunately other mobile companies may charge, but you can also contact the support team free by email on the main Macmillan website here.
I hope this is helpful, but let us know if you have any other questions by replying here, or emailing us at email@example.com
One of close had a tongue cancer his it has been diagonosed in sep 2012 it was on stage 2 .
Doctor said its curable with surgery they have surgery .
But he has diagonosed with tb in lymph nodes in neck .
Now there is an tumor found in neck two months doctor said i have doubt on this tumor to present
cancerous cell but fnac report declare is tb cell no evidence of cancerous cell .
In between two month tumor is continiously growing befor 15 days back we have ct scan but same thing occur in ct scan tb cell present .
Now again doctor saying it symptoms of cancer tumor please do bisopy test.
We are getting tensed please suggest .
Hello Shakti. I am sorry that your close friend / family has been diagnosed with tongue cancer, it can be treated with surgery / combination of other treatments. With some head and neck cancers the lymph nodes in the neck can also be affected and may also require further surgery .... it all depends on the biopsy results and the Consultant will decide which is the best way to go.
As this is an old webchat transcript it is doubtful that many will see this, so if you join the site's Head and Neck Cancer group and post there you will be able to learn more.
Hello again Shakti. If you click on the above link it should take you to the Head and Neck Cancer group.
If you have any questions about our organisation our Macmillan team would love to hear from you
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© Macmillan Cancer Support 2010
what are these?