Just over 5 years ago I had surgery to remove a large cancer tumour on my tongue followed by 30 sessions of radiation at the maximum dosage, to my mouth, throat and upper chest as the specialists feared the cancer may have spread due to the inordinate delay caused by the hospital oral surgeon not advising me I had Squamous Cell Cancer for 10 months and botched two operations to remove the cancer. Thankfully I have not had a reoccurrence of cancer to date.
Aside from the immediate after effects of the radiation to my tongue included losing a lot of its dexterity manoeuvring food in my mouth, speech clarity, loss of taste and smell, loss of saliva I also suffered burns on my neck and chest and the inevitable nausea. Initially I had a PEG feeding tube but I eventually managed to resume eating orally so the PEG was removed. I am now having problems eating, with food and drink leaking into my lungs causing me to cough a lot when the food goes astray.
I had both a video endoscopic examination (camera on a flexible tube passed through my nose into my throat) and a video fluoroscopy (X ray movie). Both examinations had me swallowing various foods and drinks to ascertain the cause of my problem.
The video endoscopic examination revealed some food is collecting in my throat and is potentially leaking into my trachea (air way) and lungs rather than go straight down to my stomach as my epiglottis(a flap that stops food and drink getting into the lungs) is not working as well as it should due to the radiation.
The video fluoroscopy revealed a constriction of the oesophagus (gullet) just past my epiglottis probably caused by radiation induced fibrosis. A hospital surgeon has advised I need an oesophageal dilation (inflatable balloon) to expand the constriction in my oesophagus which will get worse if untreated.
Every consultant I have met over the past five years has all advised that any unnecessary surgery to the irradiated area is not recommended. In order to make an informed decision whether to have an oesophageal dilation or not I need more information on the procedure especially from former cancer patients especially those who received radiation as part of their treatment.
My question is: Have you or someone you know ever had an oesophageal dilatation to reduce a constriction in the oesophagus?
• Did you have radiation as part of your treatment for cancer
• When did you have the oesophageal dilatation
• What was the outcome
• Was the constriction caused by the after effects of radiation as part of the cancer treatment or not
• Was the procedure successful
• Were there any complications, if so what were they
• Did the procedure need to be repeated again, if so how long was it after the initial oesophageal dilation
Your response will be treated confidentially.
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Thanking you in anticipation for your assistance.