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Neck Radiation


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I don’t know if I am posting this in the right place, but I am hoping someone can help.  My dad was diagnosed with Stage IV adenocarcinoma with bone mets about a month ago.  It spread to the C2/C3 area of his neck and he completed 10 rounds of radiation.  I asked for SBRT but they said they needed to go wider than that therapy could provide.  He had his first round of chemo (carboplatin/alitma) and keytruda two days before finishing up radiation.  He is absolutely suffering from the radiation.  His throat is so bad he will not eat or drink, he is depressed, and saying that he isn’t doing any more treatment.  He also developed thrush and mouth sores from the chemo.  He is on painkillers (oxy) with no relief.  He has had to go in to get fluids via IV.  It has been 8 days since he completed radiation and there is no improvement.  Does anyone have any words of advice, help, ideas, suggestions?  He also has COPD.  Thank you!!!

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Others will be here, Sheri, who are much more knowledgeable than I. I just want to express my empathy for what you and your father going through. Most cancer centers have specialized therapists who are there to support families and patients. 

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I can imagine radiation in the high in the neck (C-2:C-3) would cause extreme side effects. My involvement was much further down and just on one side. Here are my ideas. Ice cream is a good way to get nutrients into him plus it will sooth his neck tissues. Radiation oncologist have a formula called "magic mouthwash" that works well with thrush and mouth sores. Ask for an RX for different pain relief medication. Oxycodone didn't work for me but Tramadol Hcl did. Ensure you administer a laxative when he is taking pain killers or he'll soon have another problem to "eliminate".

Welcome here. I'm sure others will pass along suggestions that worked for them.

Stay the course.


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Hi Sheri and welcome,

I'm sorry to hear that  your dad is having such a hard time with his cancer treatment. I haven't had radiation in the neck area but there are others on the site who have and I hope you'll hear from them.  Some people have had relief from mouth sores with "magic mouthwash", which is a specially compounded prescription.  Has he tried that? Another suggestion I have is to ask for a referral to a palliative care specialist. To be clear, I'm not talking about hospice, although palliative care specialists can be involved in hospice services. Palliative care focuses on symptoms of serious illness and side effects of treatment, in order to not only relieve pain but also improve quality of life. A person can have palliative care while also having treatment aimed at curing  the illness.  i wish all the best for you and your dad,

Bridget O

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