Good morning Carolyn. I had 33 radiation treatments on my tongue cancer in conjunction with two rounds of Cisplatin. I'm two years cancer free so it all worked. I will tell you it was a challenge. I didn't have burns, but developed mucositis and was hospitalized for 29 days. No one warned me of that potential possibility so it was a surprise. That said, the two biggest things to prepare for that you can control are 1) ensure that all your dental work is current and your teeth are in good shape and 2) talk to your doctor about treatments like Biotene and other mouth washes to combat dry mouth as that can be both uncomfortable and dangerous for your teeth. The other piece for me was that I lost taste for about six months. It eventually came back, albeit a little less than before, but it did return. Good luck and hang in there! Life is wonderful on the other side of this ordeal.
Malignant Melanoma, Nasal Cavity Questions
Asked by carolyn on Friday, March 8, 2013
have you had mouth/tongue radiation? can you tell me how it went?
3 Answers from the Community
Agree with pahiii. I had thirty rounds of radiation. You'll not be able to eat much other than liquids, but it's important to keep your weight up (or you'll get a feeding tube). Protein shakes are great for this. The treatment effects are cumulative, so they get worse toward the end. In addition to loss of taste, I lost my salivary gland function, which has yet to come back, so eating continues to be a challenge. I also had burning of the neck and incredible itching., but there are prescription ointments that help. There are also things like "magic mouthwash" that will lessen the pain. in the mouth/throat. I'd encourage you to reach out to your oncologist and this group with questions during treatment and recovery. It's really helpful to know what to expect next, since this is a journey most of us haven't been on before. Good luck! You'll be fine.
I agree with both previous answers from @pahiii and @Thanks4Mayo. I had radiation to the neck and lower jaw area 4 years ago for tonsil cancer, in addition to being hit there for hodgkins 24 years ago. The last round made my teeth brittle, they started chipping, breaking, decaying. I am now in the middle of having them all removed and dentures. The problem with having this done after the radiation is you are susceptable for Osteoradionecrosis. A condition where the gums won't heal over the area where a tooth is pulled from, then the bone starts to rot out, causing you to have to have surgery to replace the area with bone from other places. Not a pretty picture.
So, as they said, be sure your dental issues are tip top, and if there is any doubt, lots of cancer centers are advising to pull teeth before you even have the radiation.
Wish you the best!!