• My husband has bad tongue swelling really big on left side. Any suggestions for relief? Has had 8 radiation & 3 chemo treatments

    Asked by edwards on Tuesday, September 4, 2012

    My husband has bad tongue swelling really big on left side. Any suggestions for relief? Has had 8 radiation & 3 chemo treatments

    4 Answers from the Community

    4 answers
    • FreeBird's Avatar

      Ow. That's horrible. I will keep my eyes open for information. In the meantime, if it interferes with his breathing and drinking, needless to say it's an emergency. There are two good major starting places for cancer information-- cancer.org the American Cancer society, and the National Cancer Institute cancer.gov Both of them have helplines that can direct you towards any information they have on it--

      National Cancer Institute (1-800-4-CANCER)
      American Cancer Society (1-800-227-2345)

      over 8 years ago
    • FreeBird's Avatar

      Oh I was just reading your husband's story there. He has a trach now? Was the swelling before or after he started treatments? and the doctor is aware of this?

      over 8 years ago
    • FreeBird's Avatar

      and a Gastrostomy tube, so he is not able to use the oral route for anything right now, is that right?

      We'll be thinking about Steve and hoping he can find relief for his swelling soon.

      over 8 years ago
    • FreeBird's Avatar

      Hello again Edwards clan. Most likely, anyone you contact is going to tell you that the person in the best position to offer you advice on help for tongue swelling is Steve's doctor. That's the person most familiar with the history, and involvement with his supraglottic squamous cell cancer that you described, as well as the complicated situation with his trach & G tube. From what I understand, with tongue enlargement, you have to determine the cause, and if it is something that has come up suddenly, you want to get on that right away just to rule out infection, allergies, side effects of medication. Did the doctor say anything about the swelling at all? If the doctor knows about this, and Steve has had it since the beginning... If it's directly related to the cancer, and the oncologist can't help with the tongue enlargement outside of treating the cancer, it might be worth a trip to a head and neck specialist if you're not already doing so, to see if their specialized knowledge can be applied to management of the symptoms, and find relief.

      After reading your description, as T4aN2cm0 supraglottic cancer,

      The National Cancer Institute lists that stage as:

      Supraglottis tumor T4a
      "Moderately advanced local disease.
      Tumor invades through the thyroid cartilage and/or invades tissues beyond the larynx (e.g., trachea, soft tissues of neck including deep extrinsic muscle of the tongue, strap muscles, thyroid, or esophagus)."

      Lymph nodes N2

      "Metastasis in a single ipsilateral lymph node, >3 cm but ≤6 cm in greatest dimension.
      Metastases in multiple ipsilateral lymph nodes, none >6 cm in greatest dimension.
      Metastases in bilateral or contralateral lymph nodes, none >6 cm in greatest dimension."

      Metastasis M0

      "No distant metastasis."

      However, you have said that it has now spread to the liver.

      I understand from reading that an enlarged tongue can be secondary to radiation treatment or surgery for head and neck cancers. But there is also enough going on in the neck and head where the cancer could cause this swelling of the tongue on one side. Only the doctor will be able to tell you exactly what's going on in Steve's case.

      I wish there were easy answers. I'd like a few of them too.

      over 8 years ago

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