"something hanging at back of throat

Hello, I'm a carer for my partner, he has undergone a partial neckectomy and tonsillectomy for squamous cell cancer to lymph nodes and tonsil, has just completed his 5th session of 3 weekly chemo's and 20 sessions of IMRT, he has 10 to go, he has mucositis and very painful mouth and throat but the worst thing that is bothering him now ( other than having to peg feed his intake as he is unable to tolerate swallowing food) is that he says there is something hanging at the back of his throat which makes him gag and sometimes sick when coughing up that terrible thick mucous, can anyone help please?This is the first time I have written anything on this site but I do read it all the time, thank you to everyone who update these sites as it makes you feel so good knowing that other people have been through it and came out the other side, Kind regards Chris

  • Hello Chris.   I am sorry that your partner is going through all this, the treatments certainly can cause some distressing side-effects. Afraid that I can only guess on what the bothersome problem may be and I would suggest that it is this horribly thick mucus that the radiation causes ...... I went through much the same at the end of my RT. However, I would mention this to the doctor when he goes for his radiotherapy treatment ...... they usually ask how the patient is coping every time or at the weekly reaction clinic.

    It's a tough road but with help we get there, my best wishes to you both.

    Joycee x

  • Hi Chris, So sorry to hear of your Partner's reaction to the treatment. My Husband finished his treatment 4 long weeks ago & suffered with the mucus from about the same time as your Partner until 5 days ago. It was relentless. It would wake him up & for a long time caused continuous vomiting, so much so that he ended up being admitted to hospital to attempt to get it under control. Unfortunately, nothing works completely, although my Husband found Nozinan administered through a syringe driver & 'overseen' by the District Nurses helped. For the sore mouth he found 'Igloo' rubbed onto the ulcers gave some relief. You can buy this over the counter. Also, you may find it easier for him to use a pump feed. It drips the feed in through the PEG tube so if he is sick then it isn't a full feed. He needs some nutrition to get him through. We found this much easier. He was given a nebuliser but found this made him sick straight away but from what I've read it does work for some. It really is absolute hell but he will get through it but it will get worse before it gets better. We weren't prepared for the recovery time after treatment as we were so focused on ploughing through the days. I hope this advice helps & I wish you & your Partner all the best. If I can help with anything else please just ask. Karen
  • I had very similar problems, and my consultant suggested trying a nebuliser can i suggest you try one, it certainly helped me.

    Good luck

  • Hi Chrissy

    so sorry to hear the two of you are going through this, we experienced a very similar situation. D had 6 weeks of RT every day and chemo once a week for tongue and neck cancer. He started with the "gunk" around about week 5 which escalated after the treatment finished. He described it as feeling as if he were drowning. He was tube fed NG and admitted twice due to vomiting and dehydration. The good news is that it does eventually pass although it doesnt feel like it will ever end, I can still remember the awful smell and felt guilty as I used to put vic inside my nose for the trips to and from hospital. We tried a few tips which good people on this site suggested, like gargling with flat coke, he found the caphasol helpful. His treatment finished about 10 weeks ago and he also had problems with ulcers but the hospital gave him gel which seemed to do the trick in about 5 days. Like you we focused on getting through the treatment on a daily basis and were very naeve about how radical it was and the effects it causes. I became the queen of platitudes......... the favourite being "its a means to an end"

    I wish you both lots of good luck and a speedy passage through this awful recovery. It does pass really, D is preparing to go back to work tomorrow on a phased return, which frankly I wasnt sure would happen some days but it is!

    Its my experience you will find great support here, and dont forget your Mac nurse I couldnt have managed without ours

    Virtual Hugs


  • Hello Joycee, Thank you very much for your response and we will mention it when we go back to the hopsital for more of his daliy RT's, the mucus is dreadful, I feel so sorry when I hear him trying to clear it, especially when his throat is already so painful with the burns,Its good to know people do get through this as it seems to go on forever but its so reassuring to read other comments.Thank you, glad you are a ot better now

    Best WishesChris

  • Thank you so much Karen, even when the radiation treatment has finished, its never over, in fact it continues like you said, as if they don't go through enough, thank you for the tips and advice though, everything is worth trying to enable a better solution to each problem, talk about taking each day as it comes, can't wait for the day when he can eat again and that when he does, that he can taste it, hope your husband is well on the road to recovery now.

    Kind regards


  • Hello Edie, Thank you for responding with some really helpful advice, it is so hard as a carer going through this with De especially as he was so fit and healthy all through his life and had a healthy lifestyle, we were getting married in October but we postponed it until March next year, just hope that he recovers sufficiently to enjoy the day, this year we have written off as being the worse year ever, but we still think positive and things can only get better, so pleased about your husband returning to work, its normal life again.Best wishes Chris

  • Hello Pete,

    Thank you for that suggestion, we have actually been given one to try but have not tried it yet but now we will, thank you and good luck with your recovery.. Chris

  • Hi Chris, Know what you mean about 2012 being the worst year ever! I'm sure that by March next year De will thoroughly enjoy his wedding day & it'll mean so much to say the words 'in sickness and in health' as part of your vows. You've been through so much already with the diagnosis. My Husband is only 43 so I understand how you must feel to see him deteriorate but please be reassured that it is only temporary. Losing the ability to eat & even speak due to the mucus, I found it really frustrating that there isn't any medication to help. As the saying goes 'when you reach the end of the rope, tie a knot and hang on'. My arms got very sore! Keep going love. You're both going to be just fine. Karen