narrowed esphagus after treatment

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narrowed esphagus after treatment

by Dmdoughty on Mon Jan 16, 2017 04:38 PM

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My husband is one month post treatment for base of tongue CA with mets to lymph nodes.  37 radiations treatments and 4 Cisplatin rounds.  He has a G-tube that he uses almost exclusively for his nutrition and hydration but is REALLY wanting to eat again.  He has tried many different food items with only a few that have "worked".  His taste is starting to return which is wonderful, saliva still an issue and probably always will from what we understand but the worst is what seems like a very tiny narrowed esphagus.  Just about everything is getting stuck, even the tiniest of things until he gags and eventually throws it up.  This was not a side effect we were told about and am not too sure if it will eventually get better or if there is something that can be done to help this.  If you have experienced this please let me know if there is anything that can help or if its a time issue and what foods did you find easier to eat. 

Thanks!

RE: narrowed esphagus after treatment

by SameJourney on Tue Jan 17, 2017 04:47 AM

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Glad the treatments are behind you. My husband had similar symptoms post treatment for tonsilar cancer. He was prescribed pentofylline (spelling is not correct) and vitamin E 1000 IU for about 9 months. We were told it might help. This seemed to help with the scar tissue in the throat and he was able to swallow better. He is now 18 months post treatment. He has to chew his food well before swallowing and still drinks fluids (not as frequent as in the beginning) while eating. Best of luck to you.

RE: narrowed esphagus after treatment

by Sdurnell on Tue Jan 17, 2017 05:53 AM

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It sounds like he is ending the period after treatment when the accummulated effects of radiation continue to "cook" us, so his slow recovery should be beginning now or soon.

My esophagus closed up completely not too long after I ended treatment.  I could not even swallow my own saliva, which was kind of a joke because I hardly had any!  I was entirely dependent on the tube for months for all my nutrition, hydration, and medication.  Eventually my radiation oncologist persuaded my ENT to try to dilate my thoat, which was unsuccessful.

But then he found me a GI who over time did a series of dilations that eventually allowed me to eat again.  This might be a possibility for your husband.  But it's likely that his doctors would want to wait to see if it heals properly on its own, since he is so recently out of treatment.  I would bring it up with his ENT at the next visit.

I feel that I was exceptionally well informed about this cancer and my treatment, but this was a side effect that I wasn't warned about either.  My doctors had never seen it before to the degree I had it, and I only had 25 radiation treatments, less than is standard.  

Most people who have reported getting throat dilations have only required one of a few.  It took me about 5 or so before I could swallow again, but then my case was more severe than most.  I still go in 2 to 3 times a year for dilations at 6 years out of treatment, but they are not a big deal--just an outpatient procedure, similar to a colonoscopy, but from the other end.  (And in fact I have had both done at the same time.)

I also want to mention that my saliva has continued to improve ever since my treatment ended.  I figure I am at about 60% or maybe a bit better now.  So don't give up on that!

Best of luck to both of you.

Susan

RE: narrowed esphagus after treatment

by Georgef on Wed Jan 18, 2017 10:22 PM

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On Jan 16, 2017 4:38 PM Dmdoughty wrote:

My husband is one month post treatment for base of tongue CA with mets to lymph nodes.  37 radiations treatments and 4 Cisplatin rounds.  He has a G-tube that he uses almost exclusively for his nutrition and hydration but is REALLY wanting to eat again.  He has tried many different food items with only a few that have "worked".  His taste is starting to return which is wonderful, saliva still an issue and probably always will from what we understand but the worst is what seems like a very tiny narrowed esphagus.  Just about everything is getting stuck, even the tiniest of things until he gags and eventually throws it up.  This was not a side effect we were told about and am not too sure if it will eventually get better or if there is something that can be done to help this.  If you have experienced this please let me know if there is anything that can help or if its a time issue and what foods did you find easier to eat. 

Thanks!

Hi ...Had 40 radiations treatments. I just that it created scar tissues therefore narrowing my opening to digest food. I had it widden to no avail. I have learned to forget steak, chicken, turkey and pork chops. I cut my food up small, eat slow and created a list of food that causes me the least problems.

Like spaghetti and some pasts. What has happens for decades you eat with no problems. Now our minds have a problem reconizing we can no longer eat the old way. I was stage one 8 years ago and am stage one today. Hang in there, adjust your eating habits and you will be fine.

God Bless

George

RE: narrowed esphagus after treatment

by doggone on Thu Jan 19, 2017 12:03 AM

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I was treated with radiation and chemo and operated on for esphageal cancer almost  5-1/2 years ago. After the operation, I had difficulty swallowing and underwent regular dilations by a gastroenterologist. I still get dilations every once and a while. At first it didn't seem to stay right, but eventually scar tissue has stabilized. Now I rarely have issues eating even bread and steak. Do the dilation was the key and it may take quite a few repetitions. Good Luck!

RE: narrowed esphagus after treatment

by EDWARD123 on Thu Jan 19, 2017 02:36 AM

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I  DO NOT UNDERSTAND ,,WHAT DO U MEAN BY DIALATION?????????????I  HAVE SAME PROBLEM  .. PLEASE  REPLY  ,,,

RE: narrowed esphagus after treatment

by Sdurnell on Fri Jan 20, 2017 03:18 AM

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Edward,

A throat dilation is a procedure, done by an ENT or a GI depending on the location and type of the stricture, to open the throat and improve the ability to eat.  There are two main types, both of which are done on an outpatient basis.  I get balloon dilations, which involve sending a scope down my throat followed by a long balloon, which is then inflated quickly, opening the stricture.

A second type involves sending a long tube, pointed on one end down to press the throat open.  Both kinds usually use more than one pass, with balloons or tubes of gradually wider diameter.  Mine are 12, 13.5, and 15 mm.

My doctor, a GI, has never been able to open my throat to its formal normal, but I do get it big enough to be able to eat most foods if I watch the size of bites.  Now at 6 years out, I have it done 2-3 times a year.  But for most people it takes far fewer tries to get an acceptable diameter.

Susan

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