When my cancer was first diagnosed in early 1994, I began my conventional cancer treatments without giving a passing thought to the prospect of side effects from my chemo and radiation. Everyone lost their hair, their appitite and vomited when they went through therapy. But I was young, 34, strong, in pretty good shape and figured that my oncologist would talk to me about any possible side-effecta that was worth discussing.
Boy was I naive.
The fact is that all cancer patients experience short, long-term and late stage side-effects from toxic therapies. The more toxicity you expose your body to the more collateral damage occurs. It’s just that simple. Radiation therapy to your head/neck can cause dramatic collateral damage. If you are considering radiation therapy please consider supplementing with omega 3 fatty acids.
Though I didn’t have head/neck cancer, I did undergo extensive radiation to my neck causing both dry mouth and dysphagia. My chemobrain was caused by high-dose chemotherapy during my autologous stem cell transplant.
I’m not looking for sympathy by telling you this. I am trying to explain to you that if you are about to undergo aggressive therapy to your body or radiation anywhere near your head and neck, please consider reading the studies lined and excerpted below.
The important thing to understand about side-effects from surgery, chemo and radiation is that the better job you do managing your side effects the better chance you have to get through your therapy, remain cancer-free and live “the new normal.”
I am both a cancer survivor and cancer coach. Have you been diagnosed with head/neck cancer? If so, what stage? For more information about managing side effects, scroll down the page, post a comment or question and I will reply ASAP.
“Neurocognitive dysfunction has been reported in association with a variety of malignancies, including head/neck cancer. In a pilot study of the association, Razak and colleagues found that nine of 10 survivors of head and neck cancer had deficits in various aspects of neurocognitive function two years after treatment...”
“Chronic dry mouth, also called xerostomia, is common among patients treated with radiation to the head and neck. This condition results from damage to the glands that produce saliva. Chronic dry mouth can have a major impact on quality of life by causing pain and discomfort, affecting the ability to sleep, altering taste, and/or increasing the likelihood of dental problems…”
“Swallowing exercises during radiation and chemotherapy for head and neck cancer help preserve function early on, a small clinical trial showed…”
“Dysphagia (difficulty swallowing) is a common side effect following chemoradiation therapy (CRT) in patients with head and neck cancer…Manual acupuncture and electroacupuncture were used once a week. Results: A total of 9 of 10 patients reported various degrees of subjective improvement in swallowing functions, xerostomia, pain, and fatigue levels..”