Possible throat cancer

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Possible throat cancer

by Pheonix67 on Fri Dec 21, 2018 03:38 AM

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Hi, after a tough year I find myself back facing a possible throat cancer diagnosis. Last year I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Had the mastectomy earlier this year and recovered well. I have been given the all clear. So I’m highly grateful and feel very lucky. However, I suffer with asthma and have had more than the usual asthma flares this year. We have put it down to my immune system being compromised and having gone through everything. For a number of months now I have found myself constantly clearing my throat. Feels like I need to try and clear it all the time. More frustrating than anything else. These last couple of weeks I have been having trouble trying get enough air. My sats are fine and temperature fine. I ended up in A and E over the weekend with what I thought was asthma again and was put on a nebuliser four times over a period of twenty four hours. It did help but not for any length of time. I have had weeks of steroids and that hasn’t helped. Usually they do if it’s Asthma. I’ve had two lots of antibiotics and that hasn’t solved the issue either. I have a wheeze and it’s coming from my throat. My chest is clear. But I still feel like my throat is constricting. It’s the best way I can describe it. The wheeze never goes and my voice has been hoarse for a while now. I was told to go back and see my GP. I did that this week, He agreed my voice isn’t right and has said he is reffering me to ENT immediately. I received a call a day ago and have been asked to attend an appointment on Christmas Eve. I was told over the phone that no I couldn’t wait until after Christmas as this is a cancer refferal. My biggest problem is feeling like I can’t get enough air and my hoarse voice. I can’t feel any lump in my neck and I can swallow fine, all be it is a tiny bit sore, nothing more. I Have stayed away from spicy foods of late as they really don’t help and I find it very uncomfortable on my throat. I don’t smoke. Why if my chest is clear do I feel this restricted feeling in my throat and a feeling of not being able to get enough air? At times my vocal chords feel like they are being strained. I’m pretty worried as I’m not sure I can face another round of cancer. I’ve been on a very high dose of antacids to try and help. The GP did say this could be a reflux problem to me but then I find out what he’s suspecting. I have no idea what I’m facing on Monday and what sort of tests await. I’m sure it won’t be pleasant. I’m not losing weight, in fact my appetite is normal. Any advice or help here would be so so appreciated....Thanks. .

RE: Possible throat cancer

by Sdurnell on Fri Dec 21, 2018 05:59 AM

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Phoenix,

First, congratulations on your breast cancer survival! 

You will likely be scoped on Monday to have a look at your throat and upper esophagus.  The ENT will put a small tube up one nostril and thread it down to get a look.  There might be some kind of biopsy as well, or an order for one or a CT scan. 

Your "asthma" may be the result of silent aspiration (aspiration with no symptoms), which can occur with an obstruction, and which would put you in danger of a pneumonia.

(I have asthma as well, and I really wheeze when I get pneumonia, but my rescue inhalers do not rescue me very well.  And I have had aspiration pneumonias with this cancer treatment, so I understand a bit of what you must be feeling.)

But I'm no doctor and you shouldn't rely on me or anyone here for a diagnosis.  Be sure to tell the ENT everything and anything that may be related to this. 

And remember that just because you are being screened for cancer does not mean that you have it.  And beyond that, this is generally a manageable, even a curable, cancer, especially if it has not spread to your lymph nodes yet.  But even if it has spread, and for most of us here it had before we were diagnosed, it quite often has a good prognosis, especially if it is HPV related.

I am nine years out from diagnosis last month and cured of throat cancer (squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck).

Best of luck to you on Monday.  I hope you get some answers soon.

Susan

RE: Possible throat cancer

by Boobiie13 on Sun Apr 14, 2019 05:14 AM

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I know this post is older but it may help someone else. Last year my husband and I had a upper respiratory virus that lasted for a couple of months. His went away but mine lingered. My throat was sore and dry. Tried a zpack and did nothing. The next time was another zpack and predizone. It seemed to help but then I got thrush in my throat. When that cleared, and I didn’t feel any better, I made an appointment with the ENT. Took awhile to get in. He scoped and saw a mass on my voice box. Did a ct to see if it was on the back side too. It was. He told me he couldn’t do a biopsy for a month. He had to go on vacation. I was mad and so was everybody else! ( I also ate bags of cough drops). Too many to count. We checked our insurance to see where else we could go sooner. That was a pain too cause some just wouldn’t do it. Finally got into another better hospital. In the meantime I was researching and it said that throat nodules have the same symptoms. I was being optimistic, even though I smoked for 40 years. My appt. was on a wed. so on Sun. I went out with my girlfriend cause I wanted to have fun all I could before my tentivly my life would change forever. We were out having fun, then all of the sudden, I could not breath. My friend didn’t know what was happening. After a few min. She knew what was going on. She threw me into her truck and away we went to the hospital. Luckily, it was not that far away. I was 2 minutes from death when I got there. My mass had cut my airway. I got transferred to the hospital that I was to have the biopsy. UW Madison Wi. Thank god! They put in trach, did the biopsy and it was cancer. Stayed 5 days and from there have been very busy. Into my 3rd week of treatment. 6 weeks radiation with chemo 3 times. Just had feeding tube placed. The cancer is only on my voice box. I have a wonderful team! Driving an hour each way 5 days a week. I believe my odds will be better, considering what had happened in my town.If you have doubts, do not wait! If you can’t get a biopsy in a reasonable time frame, fight until you do.

RE: Possible throat cancer

by Sdurnell on Mon Apr 15, 2019 12:23 AM

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Boobie,

Good thing you kept at it!  I think we all need to listen to our instinct about these things.  

I hope your treatment is going well.  I want to caution you that when radiation fatigue sets in you may need someone else to drive you to and from your appointments.  I had a two-hour drive each way on snowy roads (Jan. and Feb.), and after a couple of weeks could not have safely gotten myself to and from radiation sessions.  My husband took off one day a week and friends filled in on the other days, for which I am exceedingly grateful and will never be able to repay them.

And best of luck with the feeding tube if you need to use it.  I tried going without one, but got pneumonia and lost so much weight that I gave in.  And am I glad I did--it saved my life.

All the best in the next few weeks and as you begin your long, slow recovery process.

Susan

RE: Possible throat cancer

by Boobiie13 on Mon Apr 15, 2019 09:57 AM

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On Apr 15, 2019 12:23 AM Sdurnell wrote:

Boobie,

Good thing you kept at it!  I think we all need to listen to our instinct about these things.  

I hope your treatment is going well.  I want to caution you that when radiation fatigue sets in you may need someone else to drive you to and from your appointments.  I had a two-hour drive each way on snowy roads (Jan. and Feb.), and after a couple of weeks could not have safely gotten myself to and from radiation sessions.  My husband took off one day a week and friends filled in on the other days, for which I am exceedingly grateful and will never be able to repay them.

And best of luck with the feeding tube if you need to use it.  I tried going without one, but got pneumonia and lost so much weight that I gave in.  And am I glad I did--it saved my life.

All the best in the next few weeks and as you begin your long, slow recovery process.

Susan

Thank god for your reply! I have read most everything on here and they are dated from years ago. I have learned a lot on this site. I tried to sign into the America Cancer society. First time trying, it took me 45 minutes and I gave up. The next time it was the same thing. Every password was not right, nothing matched. After another 45 min, I gave up! They emailed me about a password and Imreplied that this was a joke! I just wanted some support, not having to jump through hoops to get it. I said people with cancer don’t want to waste any time. I had an easier time setting up a bank account! Anyways, I needed to vent about that. Would love to hear your story. This is all so new to me. I have had 8 rounds of radiation and 1 chemo so far. I am starting to feel the effects as it is getting harder to swallow. I have pain pills, but still am feeling the pain. From what I have read so far, the worst is yet to come and I am terrified! Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Thank you again! Barb

RE: Possible throat cancer

by Sdurnell on Wed Apr 17, 2019 06:28 AM

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Barb,

I think it's good that you got the feeding tube.  I tried without it but was not able to eat much and so lost too much weight, and then I got pneumonia, so I got one.  It saved my life.  You may not even need yours, but it's there if you do.

You are correct that things will get worse before they get better.  Radiation is really quite brutal, but we survive it.  It was about the third week when my symptoms really started kicking in.  Fatigue, throat pain, loss of saliva, copious very thick saliva/mucus, and messed up taste buds.  It gets so that everything tastes bad, even water.  I could only really tolerate applesauce and ginger ale.  Some people manage better than I did, though.

You should know that after radiation is over, it will keep on working on you, so you'll feel even worse the first couple of weeks.  After that, things plateau and then you start, very slowly, to feel better.  It's best to approach the healing after treatment with a great deal of patience.  

I was diagnosed in 2010 with throat cancer, which had spread to one lymph node.  But they could never find my primary.  So I had all the lymph nodes removed on one side of my neck and then radiation, no chemo.  (You are likely getting both because of your history of tobacco use, and that protocol works best in such cases.)  They had to radiate my whole neck just in case there was still a small primary there.

I ended up using the feeding tube for all my medication, hydration, and nutrition, as I could not swallow anything at all.  Tried speech therapy but it didn't work.  Eventually it was discovered that my throat had completely swollen shut.  After a number of throat dilations I was able to eat by mouth again, about 10 months after I began radiation.  I was also much less tired at that point.  After another year I'd gained back enough weight so I didn't look skeletal any longer.

My gums were not in good shape, so I had a full mouth extraction before starting radiation.  Between the lack of saliva and the dentures, I was pretty limited at first what I could eat, but the saliva has improved and with it the fit of the dentures, so I can eat most things now, and they taste good!  My saliva production will likely never be back to normal, but it has kept improving over the years.

At the 5-year mark my radiation oncologist declared me cured--the good "c" word.  Life is good.  And I wish the same outcome for you.

All the best,

Susan

RE: Possible throat cancer

by Boobiie13 on Wed Apr 17, 2019 07:59 AM

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Wow! Sounds like you went through hell! My sister had oral cancer. They had to cut into her jaw and everything. She is 7 years c free. I am starting to experience swallowing pain and my mouth burns. Everything tastes spicy and I don’t like spicy food. I got some stuff called magic mouth wash. Didn’t work the first time. Tried again tonight and it made my mouth feel better, but swallowing was still an issue. Thank you so much for talking with me. This is my first rodeo. I’ve spent so much time on the internet, learning what I can. I have read that a lot of people did not want to get feeding tube, only to end up with pneumonia. I didn’t want it either but I didn’t want to feel miserable and possibly be dehydrated and such. It was bad and I couldn’t imagine going through it now! Just got buttons off today and I have a little infection. Also I already have a lot of secretions from my trach. I still have to irrigate it. I told them how can I do that! I was in so much pain and coughing hurt like hell. They say some have a lot of pain and others sail through it. We were talking to a couple today in radiation. Her husband has colon cancer and she also has it. She was done with radiation two weeks ago. Now she has to wait a couple more weeks to find out the results. They live an hour and 1/2 away. They just drive each other there and back. And on top of that, his mother has it too. They can’t do radiation or chemo on her. Isn’t that wild! I told them that they should check the H20! So what did you take for pain? I’m on oxy. Just bought some hemp oil. I don’t like taking all those pain meds. Constipation! I’m starting to fall asleep. So,glad you are c free! Text soon! I appreciate it!

RE: Possible throat cancer

by Boobiie13 on Fri Apr 19, 2019 04:59 AM

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Did you send me a message?  Your post is from 2018.  This is what I got today.

RE: Possible throat cancer

by Sdurnell on Fri Apr 19, 2019 07:36 AM

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It sounds like your sister had a really bad go of it;  I'm glad she survived and is now free.

I also took oxycodone for pain.  I needed the liquid, for the tube, and it was sometimes hard to find.  I guess I could have ground up the pills and taken it that way, though.  That's what I had to do for my other meds.  I was lucky not to have had to deal with the constipation so many get.

I still have my bottle of magic mouthwash.  I used it only a few times, and after that I didn't eat much so didn't really need it.  My pain was not in the throat area.  But I know that many others have gotten some real relief from using it.

Internet research is really helpful if you know which sites to read and which to skip.  Some doctors recommend against going online to find out about our cancers, but really, all you have to do is to be smart about it.  My doctors were fine with it, and any ideas I got I always ran by them so I wouldn't be misinformed.

Wishing you the best of luck with your treatment,

Susan

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