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Radiation done for tongue cancer. Started getting pain. How to overcome this probelm?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2009
Answered : 8985 Questions
Thanks for your reply to my 1st question. Like i had mentioned, my mother had undergone surgery and then 30 radiation sessions for her tongue, she complains of pain in the tongue. It has been 9 days since her radiation has finished, but there is no recovery yet. Also, You had written about exercise for chewing , our doctor has not yet advised that. Where do we go for these exercises? Her skin is burnt, we have taken aloderm cream. Please suggest any other way to heal the burn/tan.
Posted Thu, 21 Feb 2013 in Cancer
Answered by Dr. Shoaib Khan 44 hours later
Thank you for your query, I am trying to fill in for Dr. XXXXXXX .

Please do not worry about the pain in the tongue, as this is common and is seen after radiation therapy. She might also experience difficulty swallowing, fatigue, loss of appetite/taste.

Most of these symptoms disappear 2-3 months after radiotherapy. If the pain is unbearable, you could contact your treating doctor for pain medication. The recovery period is usually a little difficult. It shall surely get better with passing time.

Chewing exercises are regular exercises that mimic chewing (how a person would chew in normal). This will help increase mobility and also prevent atrophy (wasting away of a part of the body) of all muscles involved in chewing. Your mother can go about these exercises at home; you need not visit a center for these. Your mother might not realize how she is chewing initially, and your supervision will greatly help her.

Haloderm/aloderm cream is a skin whitening cream, which should help in treating the tan; you should give it some time to start showing a change.

If you are not happy with this, you could re-visit your dermatologist or try Meladerm cream, under his/her supervision (after discussing with your doctor). To be used in a similar manner to Haloderm/aloderm.

I hope this information helps you. You could write back to us for any further queries. Wishing your mother a speedy recovery and a long healthy life thereafter.

Best wishes.
Dr. Shoaib
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Radiation done for tongue cancer. Started getting pain. How to overcome this probelm? 2 hours later
Thanks a lot for your reply doctor XXXXXXX More than the pain, my mother's tongue is bruised and turned reddish. IS there anything that can help this. Also, as i had checked with Dr XXXXXXX, she feels weak and dizzy since she is on liquid diet since 4 months now. She is taking Ensure and also trying some semi-solid stuff. Is there anything else she can take which gives some energy?

Her speech is also affected. Is there some exercise for recovering that? though she speaks, but the tone is not loud and few words are unclear. Please advise.


Answered by Dr. Shoaib Khan 18 minutes later
I understand your concern. But, the effects of radiology could cause oral changes, even when the effected area is not the oral cavity (mouth).

Although it seems like she is currently uncomfortable, please understand that radiotherapy does have its adverse effects, as mentioned earlier: difficulty in feeding/swallowing, fatigue, nausea and vomiting, bleeding (rare), loss of appetite, loss of weight. The bruising and redness will subside gradually, but is usually the last to disappear. Please be strong, these symptoms shall disappear soon.

Ensure will provide all the necessary nutrients she requires and thus a resourceful energy source. There will be a gradual introduction of solid food once she is able to chew comfortably, and exhaustion (lack of energy) is only an aftermath of the radiotherapy.

Consider 'speech therapy'. Asking her to practice pronouncing difficult words slowly, with the right tone, to use her tongue and facial muscles better. Speech therapists are easily available on searching. You can discuss the option with her doctor.

Wishing your mother a speedy recovery. Service to parents, is gods work

Best wishes.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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