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Dr. Andrew Rynne
Dr. Andrew Rynne

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Exp 50 years

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Suggest remedies for neck pain and hardening of tissues in shoulders post radiation treatment

Answered by
Dr. Arnab Banerjee

Critical Care Specialist

Practicing since :2012

Answered : 1288 Questions

Posted on Sat, 3 Sep 2016 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
Question: Iwas treated with Chemo and Radiation of the neck(right side) in 2013.I had 37 radiation treatments and one chemo treatment due to severe burning of my neck during radiation.After finishing Radiation I had a neck resection to remove the dead tumor from my neck along with approx 100 to 150 lymph nodes.Starting in 2014 my neck tissue started to harden and continues to this day.I have consulted with several Doctors from Mayo clinic which was not productive for me.Since then my swallowing has gotten worse plus I have no saliva and have started daily a feeling of being unsteady and weak.I have looked up Baroreflex Failure and this sounds what I am experiencing.My Meds are Pentoxifylline,Levothyroxine,and Pilocarpine.My question is what if any other treatment is available.My diet is limited as I have no taste and swollowing is very difficult.Will this hardening ever stop and/or will my neck pain get better?I also had a tumor on the back of the tongue on the right side.At present I am cancer free as per a Pet Scan taken January 2016 at Mayo Clinic.

In addition to the above mentioned issues,I was on a feeding tube for approximatly five months in 2913.The Saliva problem was always there but has become acute during the last six months.Also the hardening of tissue is going into my shoulders and upper back and chest.My question is will this continue to get worse?Could the problem be from too strong a dose of Radiation?Or is this Radiation Poisoning?
Answered by Dr. Arnab Banerjee 5 hours later
Brief Answer:
signs of Fibrosis have set in..

Detailed Answer:
Hello XXXX, Welcome to HCM,

I've gone through your query and understand your concern,

It seems like an extensive neck dissection done in 2013,

Now, all these are mainly symptoms of fibrosis(gradual thickening and scarring of the connective tissues secondary to the chemo-radiation)..

Your current treatment line is optimum only..yes the problem with salivation is mainly due to xerostomia for which Pilocarpine is the drug of choice which is already ongoing..

Unfortunately, I've to agree with the doctors of Mayo clinic as there's still no marked improvement as of now..researches are still on going..

However, if there's too much pain during chewing and swallowing, then TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve stimulation) can be tried, it's one of the new developments only, and very effective in this can discuss this with your Doctor..

No, it's not likely to be due to any Radiation poisoning, as the dosage are maintained before, during and after radiation therapy.. and if still there's doubt, then measurement of radiation index can be done, please discuss with your Rediotherapist/Oncologist, who'll perform this..

Good to know, the latest PET scan showed no cancer, but these are consequences of long term chemo-radiation only, which are progressive in nature..

To minimize symptoms, regular mouth washing with chlorhexidine mouth wash(3 times daily), flossing, using soft bristles tooth brush, regular follow-up with a dentist will be really helpful..

Please let me know if there's any further queries, i'll be glad to clarify..

Take Care
Kind Regards

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Arnab Banerjee

The User accepted the expert's answer

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