Phantom Smell

Posted by catlyn @catlyn, Oct 19, 2018

Hi, has anyone who has been treated with radiation therapy for head or neck cancer experienced phantosmia, or smelling something that is not there? For about the last 2 months I’ve smelled a musty kind of burnt smell off and on throughout the day – sometimes for only a few minutes other times for several hours. I’ve not lost my regular sense of smell. My last radiation treatment was in June 2015. My radiation oncologist has referred me to a neurologist who says it could be nothing and go away on its own (or not), or may be something more serious, eg, polyps, nerve damage, brain tumor. I’m scheduled for an EEG and MRI and hope to learn more after those tests. In the meantime I’m curious if anyone else has experienced olfactory hallucinations. Thank you.

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Head & Neck Cancer Support Group.

I had H&N radiation and chemo that ended in 2012. During and for the first year after I had the strange odors that would come and go. I still have differences in taste that seem to vary from day to day. My radiation oncologist said that I could have brain, hearing, taste effects that could show themselves years after with hearing loss, etc. My radiation was centered on my skull base under the ear where the original cancer was in external ear canal. I still can smell that ozone smell that was so strong while the radiation was penetrating brain tissue……just randomly.

Please sign in or register to post a reply.