← Return to Late side effects from Cobalt Radiation for Nasopharyngeal Cancer

Comment receiving replies

That sounds a lot like my experience. I had squamous cell ca of the nasopharynx when I was a teenager in the mid-1970s. I got a about 6,000 rads of cobalt. It took about 30 years for the dysphagia to get bad enough for the balloon in the esophagus procedure. I have had it done twice but I have been told that it will not do any good from now on.

I was given a feeding tube and used it for about a year before I got tired of it falling out or getting infected. If the “experts” tell your husband he needs one, he should do his homework before consenting. He could be at risk of aspiration pneumonia. They might not tell him that the feeding tube will cause him to “forget” how to chew and swallow food. That’s one nasty surprise that I experienced and I will never forgive those who failed to inform me.
You can relearn but you will bite your tongue a lot in the process.

I just can’t eat “normal” food now. I survive okay on Boost and “full liquid” or “soft mechanical” food. My weight is fairly healthy but it fluctuates a bit. I have decided that I don’t want to eat when anyone but my wife is around because I don’t want other people to see me struggling to get the food down. So that rules out most restaurants and dinners with family. I just have to accept that but because of the pandemic we don’t get out much anyway.

But anyway, try not to worry about esophageal cancer. I think that dysphagia is unfortunately typical for long-term survivors who have been radiated for head-and-neck cancer. The other big problems are trismus and xerostomia.

Jump to this post

Replies to "That sounds a lot like my experience. I had squamous cell ca of the nasopharynx when..."

Thanks for the reply. Have you had any problems with a tired tongue or tired mouth. I suspect my husband has tmj problems to boot maybe to do with the trismus. My husband was 20 when he got the cancer. Did they ever rule out what yours was caused by? Truly appreciate your feedback.