Cough after Radiation

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Cough after Radiation

by wild2inca on Mon May 11, 2020 05:20 PM

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Greetings All,

Its' been seveal years since I have been on here, hope everyone is doing well especially with the COVID-19 issues.  

I had a question for the group.  I am approaching 4 years post treatment for tonsil cancer.  I did 6 sessions of chemo and 35 radiation treatments, 100% on the cancer side and 50% on the other side.  Overall, I have been pretty much free of any real issues other than dry mouth, which has remarkably gotten better over time.  Still dry during certain times, but something I can live with.  

However, about a year ago, I started having a cough.  Minor at the beginning, thought it was associated with a recent cold, but it never went away.  It always felt like a tickle in my throat and I cough up a little phlegm.  Not a lot, but just enough to cause the tickle.  Visits to my ENT and later a CAT scan revealed nothing.  The ENT scoped me again, and looked carefully, and basically its just a condition of hyper-sensitivity to anything that gets in that area.  Eating a dry cookie is the worse!!  Just the slightest particle will cause a cough, so I always make sure I have water close by.  Some coughing attacks can go on for several minutes, generally followed by several sneezes, after which I am fine.  Till the next one.  

My question has anyone else experienced this or a similar situation after being out of treatment for several years.  Thanks in advance for your response and stay safe! 

William

RE: Cough after Radiation

by PopPop on Wed May 13, 2020 10:25 PM

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Hello William, 

To answer your question, yes, I am similar in the dry mouth situation. Mine is severe, and if I don't drink anything for some time, my throat gets pretty dry as well. I sip some water and then things get loosened up and the coughing begins. Like you, I get the tickle and some phlegm. Once it is all cleared out, I am fine. 

I did not have Chemo, had Surgery to remove part of my tongue and Radiation. This was in 2004/2005. 

My Best to You and Everyone Here

RE: Cough after Radiation

by Sdurnell on Sat May 16, 2020 02:33 AM

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William,

At 9 years out, I sometimes cough, usually when I get food stuck in my throat.  Does that ever happen to you?  My throat is narrower now because of the radiation. 

It can also happen if you aspirate food.  Have you had a swallow study recently?  Those are the only times I really cough these days.

Congratulations on getting enough saliva to get by.  I have found that mine keeps improving even now.  

Wishing you all the best of luck and health!

Susan

RE: Cough after Radiation

by wild2inca on Sun May 17, 2020 08:09 PM

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Hi Susan,

The cough happens several times a day, generally triggered by a tickle caused by phlem.  Cough a few times, get it up and its all Ok for a while.  Or when eating something really dry, a cracker, bread, chips, those kind of things.  My last throat scope did not show anything of concern according to the ENT, he suspect is just a hyper sensitivity to anything that might land in that area by my wind pipe.  Where most people it doesn't bother, me it does.  Its irritating, but really better than the alternative!    I have not had a swallow study, but might inquire with my primary care Dr about that.  

thanks for your note, and glad we are all doing well! 

William

RE: Cough after Radiation

by Sdurnell on Thu May 21, 2020 01:23 AM

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William,

It sounds somewhat like "post nasal drip," especially as you say it's fixed by coughing something up.  You might try medications designed to help with this.  Might not be a radiation side effect at all.  I have allergies, especially this time of year, and experience something similar with them.

All the best,

Susan

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