Physical Therapy Can Play Important Role Following Radiation for Head and Neck Cancer
Individuals who have been treated with radiation for head and neck cancer are at an increased risk for Radiation Fibrosis Syndrome (RFS). The syndrome can develop at any point following a course of radiation, which means symptoms can begin long after treatment has been completed. What is RFS and Why Does it Occur? Radiation is designed to go after cancerous cells, but it can negatively impact non-cancerous cells. In the case of RFS, the non-cancerous cells can have alteration
Why is my mouth dry?
Dry mouth, also known as xerostomia, may result from a variety of causes, including medications, stress, depression, underlying medical conditions or other therapies. Xerostomia is the medical term for the subjective complaint for dry mouth. By contrast, hyposalivation is a reduction in the production of saliva. Unfortunately, xerostomia is a common side effect of head and neck radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Why is saliva important? Besides helping you swallow foods, sal
Trigger Point Injections...what's that?
Trigger point injections are sometimes an indicated treatment for jaw muscle pain and pain associated with radiation fibrosis syndrome. What are trigger points? Trigger points are, an essence, knots that form in muscles. They are spasms or localized areas of inflammation that may result from injury, radiation treatment, muscle strain or overuse. Trigger points may be extremely painful when they are active. Other times, though, trigger points may remain latent and asymptomatic
Could A LASER stop the pain? Low-Level Laser Therapy for Oral Mucositis
Mucositis, an acute but unpleasant oral sequelae of chemotherapy and radiation therapy to the head and neck, is extremely common. There are several proposed treatment modalities for mucositis, but most of the treatments deal with palliative care of the sores. What about treatments to help potentially prevent mucositis? For several years, in Europe and South America, low level LASER therapy (LLLT) has been administered to prophylactically prevent mucositis. How does it work? I
The 411 on Mucositis
What is it? Mucositis is inflammation of the mucosa which is lines the gastrointestinal tract. Characterized by mouth sores, intraoral mucosal redness, tissue sloughing, and a burning sensation, mucositis is an acute side effect associated with radiation treatment, chemotherapy, and stem cell transplants. It may affect any tissues in the oral cavity but is more commonly seen on movable mucosa such as the buccal mucosa (cheeks), lips, tongue and soft palate. Not just limited t
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month: How much do you know about going gold?
There has been a lot of media press lately about the empire state building refusing to go gold for childhood cancer, but how much do you actually know about childhood cancer? Did you know that approximately 15,780 children each year in the United States are diagnosed with cancer? Or that the general category for childhood cancers encompasses 12 types of cancers? The most common childhood cancers include lymphoma, leukemia, brain and other central nervous system tumors, neurob
Gorgeous Green Smoothie
Our sincere gratitude to Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen for providing this recipe which may be helpful for patients suffering from mouth sores and/or limited mouth opening. Recipe reprinted with permission from KICKING CANCER IN THE KITCHEN © 2012 by Annette Ramke & Kendall Scott, Running Press, a member of the Perseus Books Group Serves 2-3 Ingredients: 2 cups non-dairy milk like almond, coconut 1 cup packed kale leaves, stems removed 1 banana 1/2 avocado ½ teaspoon cinnamon
Got Dry Mouth?
Xerostomia, the medical term for dry mouth, is a common side effect of head and neck radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Radiation doses of 25 Gy or greater are associated with reduced salivary flow and function. Saliva acts as a natural buffer in the oral cavity, bathing the oral tissues and teeth. Thus, reduced salivary flow can result in an increased risk for dental decay (cavities). Tips to Combat Dry Mouth Hydrate hydrate hydrate. Drinking fluids (water is best) will hel
Magic Mouthwash: what's that?
Individuals undergoing chemotherapy or radiation treatment may experience painful mouth sores (oral mucositis) or ulcers that interfere with eating, speaking, and even swallowing. For some, relief can be found through Magic Mouthwash, the name given to a mouthwash available by prescription. Magic Mouthwash, also referred to as Miracle Mouthwash, is not prepared like traditional mouthwashes. Although available through a prescription, there is not one uniform rinse available at
Managing and Treating the Side Effects of Head and Neck Radiation Therapy
Mucositis Mucositis usually resolves once therapy is completed. Prophylactic measures may help reduce the severity and duration of mucositis. This includes maintaining good oral hygiene and rinsing with sodium bicarbonate solution (baking soda and water), even before mucositis develops. Additionally, avoiding spicy, hot, and acidic foods may help reduce the severity and duration of mucositis. It is recommended that one brushes with a mild toothpaste when experiencing mucositi