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Looking for suggestions for my hubby
My husband recently was diagnosed with Positive HPV cancer in his tonsil that spread to his lymph node. He declined surgery and chose to go with 35 rounds of radiation treatment over 6 weeks.
we just finished week 3. The sores in his mouth have started, along his tongue and back of throat.
he hasn’t had a sense of taste in about a week. The phlegm is now the issue. He takes Tylenol and Advil before eating and that seems to work better than the liquid codeine he was prescribed. He rinses often throughout the day and drinks as much as he can.
I wondered what others did to help with the mucus and phlegm? Or the sores on the tongue?
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1033 Posts

@Mrs Spooner welcome to our community. I am sorry to hear about your husband’s diagnosis but happy you are here on his behalf. I do not have experience with that type of cancer but I am tagging @law1 who may be able to provide some suggestions for you.

I hope you can find some things to help bring some relief for your husband.

#Tonsilcancer #sideeffects #Caregiver

585 Posts

Welcome @Mrs Spooner and Hubby,

I am glad @JustJan tagged me, as I struggled to recover from 36 rounds of radiation to treat my tonsil and tongue cancer. I am now cancer-free for 3 years, but it took a full year to begin the ability to eat. My blisters were horrid on my tongue, so my dentist helped me by filing the molars which continually slashed open the blisters. It took 9 months for them to heal, leaving a few in the back of my mouth which remained as scar tissue. I refused to eat or swallow as my tongue would not work and it was too painful anyway. I sympathize with you as a caregiver witnessing your husband's distress. My phlegm is still very thick and I often have a gagging reflex trying to cough it out. Yucky!!

I forced myself to drink Boost which gave me minimal calories and protein. I would suggest you and your husband confer with councillors, speech pathologists, and nutritionists who can assist the issues you mentioned. I did rely upon a topical mouth anesthetic gargle called Lidodan 2%. It is a red, viscous gargle which numbs the mouth, allowing for the swallowing of mushy foods. Mashed potatoes, ice cream, applesauce, soups, etc. It's available on request from a pharmacist.

My smell and taste are still negligible, because my salivary glands and ‘smeller’ were destroyed by the radiation….such is the result of cancer treatment…but it does pass a bit and life is preferable to the alternative.

Please utilize the resources available at your Cancer Centre, and, I have included a link to an article describing another survivor's story after tongue cancer and his radiation treatment.

Please keep posting, as this is a group of supportive people on this Cancer Connection web site. Hang in there!!!

9 Posts

Good luck with the fight and don't give up. Tough time ahead for the next 5 weeks and then things start to get a little better every day. I am 12 months post treatment and it has been a long steady improvement. Keep experimenting with food that he can get down and digest. My two faves that I still have every day are full cream milk with some raw eggs blended in as part of my breakfast. Also an energy supplement called Hexapro chocolate flavour made with milk, my sweet tooth came back first. Work on controlling the pain before it gets out of hand. I found the rinse with salt water worked for me, many times a day. For the phlegm I had the humidifier next to my bed and still do. Good luck in your times ahead.


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