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How Many Radiation Treatments For Throat Cancer

Managing The Side Effects Of Radiation Therapy

Throat cancer advice from a survivor- Radiation mask for throat, neck, and head cancer treatments.

The side effects of radiation therapy for laryngeal cancer may include a sore and inflamed throat, dry mouth, excess mucus in the mouth and throat, trouble swallowing, voice changes, fatigue, nausea, and lymphedema, a buildup of fluid in the face and neck that causes swelling. This treatment may also cause temporary tightening of your face and neck muscles.

To ease discomfort, NYU Langone doctors prescribe medication and can refer you to speech and swallowing therapists, nutritionists, pain specialists, social workers, and specialists in integrative health services.

Rehabilitation is also available to help you manage lymphedema and any muscle tightness you may be experiencing.

Why People With Cancer Receive Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy is used to treat cancer and ease cancer symptoms.

When used to treat cancer, radiation therapy can cure cancer, prevent it from returning, or stop or slow its growth.

When treatments are used to ease symptoms, they are known as palliative treatments. External beam radiation may shrink tumors to treat pain and other problems caused by the tumor, such as trouble breathing or loss of bowel and bladder control. Pain from cancer that has spread to the bone can be treated with systemic radiation therapy drugs called radiopharmaceuticals.

What Are Possible Side Effects Of Radiation Therapy

The side effects depend on the site and extent of the head and neck cancer and whether it is done in conjunction with chemotherapy. In general, radiation therapy of the head and neck does not cause nausea, but a few patients do experience nausea during treatment. Many effective antiemetics can relieve this symptom if it should occur. Chemotherapy will cause its own side effects which will be discussed with the medical oncologist.

Generally, the side effects of radiation therapy become apparent abouttwo weeks into the treatment course, when a sore throat, loss of tastesensation, dryness of the mouth and dry skin reactions may occur. Sorethroat is the main side effect that makes the course of radiation therapydifficult.

If your sore throat is severe, you may be unable to take in enough food and liquids by mouth to maintain your weight or avoid dehydration. Your doctors will then insert a feeding tube temporarily into your stomach , which will allow you to maintain adequate nutrition without having to swallow all of the food that you need. Gastrostomy placement is usually an outpatient procedure. It is important, though, to continue swallowing even with a gastrostomy tube in place. Otherwise, your swallowing muscles may weaken this would cause permanent swallowing problems and make it difficult to stop using the gastrostomy tube even after the radiation treatment course is completed.

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How Is Throat Cancer Treated

Treatment for throat cancer depends on the type of cancer you have, and whether it has spread to other parts of your body, such as your mouth or lymph nodes. Common treatments include radiation to kill the cancer cells, or surgery to remove the affected area. Removal of part or all of the larynx or pharynx can affect a persons ability to speak. A person recovering from throat cancer surgery may need to learn how to speak in new ways, either using breathing techniques or voice aids.

If the throat cancer has spread to other areas of the body, more extensive treatment might be required. Your doctor might also recommend the following additional treatments to give your body the best chance at eliminating the cancer completely:

  • Radiation therapy: This uses high-energy rays to kill cancer cells and prevent new cancer cells from growing. It is highly recommended that people who are being treated with radiation for throat cancer quit smoking before receiving treatment in order to maximize the effectiveness of radiation therapy.
  • Chemotherapy: This uses anticancer drugs to kill cancer cells in the body. Chemotherapy is often recommended for advanced stage throat cancer, and is usually prescribed in combination with radiation. Sometimes, chemotherapy is given prior to surgery in order to shrink the tumor in the throat.

Stage Ii Iii And Iv Hypopharyngeal Cancers

Dr. Vikas Goswami Oncologist, Cancer Specialist in Noida, Delhi NCR ...

One option to treat these cancers is surgery to remove the pharynx, larynx, thyroid gland, and lymph nodes in the neck. This is usually followed by radiation alone or radiation with chemo, especially if there’s a high chance that the cancer will come back based on what is found during surgery.

Another option is to first treat with both radiation and chemo . If any cancer remains after treatment, surgery can try to remove it.

A third option is to get chemotherapy as the first treatment, called induction chemotherapy. This is usually followed by radiation therapy or chemoradiation, depending on how much the tumor shrinks. If the tumor does not shrink, surgery might be done. If the lymph nodes in the neck are still enlarged after treatment, surgery can be done to remove them .

Cancers that are too big or have spread too far to be completely removed by surgery are often treated with radiation, usually combined with chemo or cetuximab. Another option might be treatment with an immunotherapy drug, either alone or with chemotherapy. Sometimes, if the tumor shrinks enough, surgery to remove the tumor and the lymph nodes in the neck may be an option. But for many advanced cancers, the goal of treatment is often to stop or slow the growth of the cancer for as long as possible and to help relieve any symptoms it may be causing.

Most experts agree that treatment in aclinical trialshould be considered if you have advanced stage hypopharyngeal cancers.

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What Are My Treatment Options

Radiation therapy, surgery, and chemotherapy are the three main treatments for head and neck cancer. Either radiation therapy, surgery, or both combined are typically used as the primary treatments with the goal of killing or removing the cancer. Chemotherapy is often used as an additional, or adjuvant, treatment. The optimal combination of the three treatment modalities for a patient with a particular head and neck cancer depends on the site of the cancer and the stage of the disease.

In general, patients with early-stage head and neck cancers are treated with one primary therapyeither radiation therapy or surgery. Patients who have more advanced cancers are often treated with chemotherapy and radiation therapy given together. Sometimes, depending on the clinical scenario, patients are treated with surgery followed by radiation therapy and chemotherapy.

If the plan of treatment is radiation therapy alone for the primary cancer, the neck is also treated with radiation therapy. In addition, surgery to remove involved lymph nodes in the neck may be necessary if the amount of disease in the neck nodes is relatively extensive or if the cancer in the neck nodes has not been eliminated completely by the end of the radiation therapy course.

Typically, one of the following radiation therapy procedures may be used to treat Head and Neck Cancer:

Throat Cancer Radiation Therapy

New radiation therapy techniques, such as intensity-modulated radiotherapy and proton therapy, and remarkable skill allow MD Anderson doctors to target throat cancer tumors more precisely, delivering the maximum amount of radiation with the least damage to healthy cells.

Radiation treatments include:

  • Brachytherapy: Tiny radioactive seeds are placed in the body close to the tumor
  • 3D-conformal radiation therapy: Multiple radiation beams are given in the exact shape of the tumor
  • Intensity-modulated radiotherapy : Treatment is tailored to the specific shape of the tumor

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What Are The Side Effects Of Brachytherapy

  • Frequent urination or urinary retention or burning with urination
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Urethral stricture or narrowing of the urethra
  • Diarrhea or blood in the stool
  • Secondary cancers

For the short time that the seeds are giving off larger amounts of radiation, you should avoid close proximity to children or pregnant women. Make sure to talk with your radiation oncologist or oncology nurse for instruction about radiation safety and exposure for family members or pets.

If you are traveling through an airport following brachytherapy treatment, there is a chance that radiation detectors will be set off. Talk to your radiation oncologist and ask for a note to indicate youve just had radiation treatment.

Why would I choose radiation therapy?

Radiation therapy, including external beam radiation therapy and brachytherapy, is an alternative form of treatment for prostate cancer. EBRT may be used after other treatments, such as surgery, to manage cancer that has recurred or is at high risk of recurrence. Radiation therapy has an excellent record of success, providing long-term disease control and survival rates equivalent to other treatments, including surgery.

How should I expect to feel during radiation therapy?

  • Increase in the frequency of urination
  • Urinary urgency
  • Softer and smaller volume bowel movements
  • Increased frequency of bowel movements
  • Worsening of hemorrhoids or rectal irritation with occasional scant blood and fatigue

Michael Douglas: 31 Days In The Life Of A Throat Cancer Patient

Mayo Clinic Minute: How proton beam therapy can treat mouth and throat cancer

Cancer patient describes losing taste, raw throat and permanent jaw damage.

Sept. 3, 2010& #151 — Scott, a 66-year-old high-tech consultant from Silicon Valley, thought the small lump he detected under his jaw line while shaving about two years ago was caused by allergies.

Doctors eventually discovered the small growth on the back of his tongue was throat cancer. The growth was in the same location as that of 65-year-old actor Michael Douglas..

Scott didn’t want his last name used and at first was hesitant to talk about his grueling cancer treatment, which just ended Aug. 23.

“I have a clear sense that some of my customers are suspect of being around people with illness and would bolt if they thought I was fighting cancer,” he said.

Six weeks of radiation — 31 days to be exact — have left Scott with what he describes as a “wooden neck,” no taste buds and a sore throat that makes swallowing anything firmer than an avocado a living hell. But he hoped his story might shed light on what lies ahead for Douglas and perhaps help prepare other throat cancer survivors.

“Tongue and throat cancers are very tricky,” he said. “They have a very high rate of cure if caught early, however the after-effects of the treatment are quite long-lasting and rather extensive.”

Douglas went public with his prognosis just this week in an appearance on “Late Night with David Letterman”: stage 4 throat cancer with an 80 percent survival rate.

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Dental Treatments May Be Put Off Until The Patients Immune System Returns To Normal

Regular dental treatments, including cleaning and polishing, should wait until the transplant patientâs immune system returns to normal. The immune system can take 6 to 12 months to recover after high-dose chemotherapy and stem cell transplant. During this time, the risk of oral complications is high. If dental treatments are needed, antibiotics and supportive care are given.

Supportive care before oral procedures may include giving antibiotics or immunoglobulin G, adjusting steroid doses, and/or platelettransfusion.

What Is The Larynx

The larynx is in your throat. Its also known as the voice box. The larynx helps us speak, breathe and swallow. Our vocal cords are part of the larynx.

The larynx is mostly made up of cartilage, a flexible tissue that makes a supportive framework. The larynx has three parts:

  • Supraglottis : More than one in three laryngeal cancers start here.
  • Glottis : More than half of laryngeal cancers start here, where the vocal cords are.
  • Subglottis : About 5% of laryngeal cancers 1 in 20 start here.

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What Happens During Radiation

The treatment is normally Monday through Friday and lasts about 45 minutes. A lot of time is spent getting your body in the right position, so the radiation hits its desired locations. You lay down on a custom-molded table. A technician positions your body using lasers and measurements. When you are aligned, a mouthguard and wired head case are placed on your body to ensure you do not move. This may seem scary, but this ensures the radiation does not hit healthy areas.

The radiation takes a couple of minutes. You can sense when the radiation hits your body if you receive radiation to your brain. Some patients see colors, others smell specific scents, and some, like me, can taste it it is not very pleasant but it is all normal. If the radiation does not touch your brain, there is no feeling or sensation, almost like it isnt there.

Sore Mouth And Throat

Esophagitis &  Mucositis: Radiation Side Effects

Your mouth and throat are likely to become sore after a few weeks. You may develop mouth ulcers or a mouth infection. Your doctor, radiographer, nurse or dentist will tell you what to look for. Keeping your mouth clean can help to prevent an infection.

Your doctor or nurse will prescribe treatment for any infection, and painkillers to take regularly. Towards the end of radiotherapy, your mouth may be very sore and it can be painful to eat. You may need strong painkillers, such as morphine. Your doctor or specialist nurse can discuss this with you.

We have more information about coping with mouth problems.

Your dietitian will see you regularly to make sure you get enough nutrition and calories each day. You may need to be fed through a tube if you cannot eat and are losing lots of weight. This is only until treatment is finished and your swallowing is back to normal. You might get back to eating normally a few weeks after radiotherapy has finished. But it may take longer than this.

Tips for looking after your mouth and teeth

  • Brush your teeth or dentures with a small, soft toothbrush after each meal using fluoride toothpaste and gel.
  • Rinse your mouth daily with a non-alcohol-based mouthwash, prescribed by your doctor.
  • Use a salt or sodium bicarbonate mouthwash at least 4 times a day. Add 1 teaspoon of salt to 900ml of cooled, boiled water. Your radiotherapy team may have a certain mouthwash they recommend you use as well.

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Is 7 Weeks Of Radiation A Lot

If youre wondering, Is 7 weeks of radiation treatment for tonsil disease a lot? youre not alone. Most people are concerned about the side effects of radiation treatments, but the truth is, the treatment is incredibly beneficial for most people. In fact, its one of the most common types of cancer treatment. After the procedure, you can usually resume normal life immediately afterward. But it is important to be prepared for the side effects of radiation.

The side effects of radiation treatments vary, from minor to severe. Some side effects come on quickly, while others may take months or even years to show up. Side effects can vary by type of radiation and the area of the body thats being treated. Its impossible to predict the amount of side effects youll experience, but you can expect to experience some pain, hair loss, and skin changes.

After reviewing your medical records and X-rays, your doctor will decide what type of treatment is best for you. He will recommend a plan for radiation treatment and discuss the risks and benefits with you. He or she will also place small markings on your skin to guide the radiation beam at your tumor. This way, the treatment wont damage the healthy cells that surround it.

What Is Throat Cancer

In general, cancer occurs in the body at the cellular level, caused by a disruption in cellular activity when normal cell reproduce uncontrollably or dont die as they should. Throat cancer mostly originates in squamous cells, which are thin, flat cells that line the pharynx and larynx.

Throat cancer can affect either the pharynx or larynx and there are a variety of different types, based on where the cancer is found. Squamous cell cancer of the throat can spread to other areas of the body including the lungs, bone and liver.

The pharynx is a 5-inch hollow tube that starts behind your nose and mouth, and ends at the top of the trachea . Cancer in any part of the pharynx is known as pharyngeal cancer.

There are three parts to the pharynx that can further classify the type of pharyngeal cancer a person has. Going from top to bottom, these are the nasopharynx , the oropharynx , and the hypopharynx .

The larynx contains your vocal cords, which are used to speak, and also helps to support the processes of breathing and swallowing. Cancer in any part of the larynx is known as laryngeal cancer. Like the pharynx, the larynx has three parts. From upper to lower, these are the supraglottis , glottis , and subglottis .

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How Will I Know That My Hormone Therapy Is Working

Doctors cannot predict how long hormone therapy will be effective in suppressing the growth of any individual mans prostate cancer. Therefore, men who take hormone therapy for more than a few months are regularly tested to determine the level of PSA in their blood. An increase in PSA level may indicate that a mans cancer has started growing again. A PSA level that continues to increase while hormone therapy is successfully keeping androgen levels extremely low is an indicator that a mans prostate cancer has become resistant to the hormone therapy that is currently being used.

Management Of Supraglottic Larynx Cancers / Back To Top

Radiation for Throat Cancer

Early cancers of the supraglottic larynx may be treated either with surgery or radiation therapy with a high likelihood of success. Moderately advanced cancers are usually treated with radiation therapy, and very advanced cancers are generally treated with surgery followed by radiation therapy. Unfortunately, surgery often involves removal of the larynx . The volume of the tumor calculated on CT scan or MR images before treatment is related to the chance of successful treatment with radiation therapy, and thus, currently, radiographic volume is used to determine treatment at the University of Florida. Patients who have higher volume lesions who would like to avoid laryngectomy are treated with radiation therapy and concomitant cisplatin chemotherapy. CT scan may also be used to follow up patients after treatment to detect early recurrences and facilitate successful surgical salvage.

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