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#138080 - 08/14/11 02:26 AM Tongue hardening after radiation?  
Joined: May 2011
Posts: 62
cs-scc Offline
Supporting Member (50+ posts)
cs-scc  Offline
Supporting Member (50+ posts)

Joined: May 2011
Posts: 62

I hope it is nothing, but had a question regarding some hardening I am feeling on the left lateral side of my tongue toward the back. I finished 35x radiation on 7/27. It may be the way that blisters on the tongue heal, but I have this paranoia that it could also be a tumor as the rest of the tongue appears to be relatively soft to the touch. The good news is that the hard spot does not hurt to touch. Since the entire tongue (especially the left) was in the field of radiation, maybe I am being overly concerned, but thought I would check to see if anyone has experienced anything similar.

Otherwise I am healing nicely - except for some minor pain in the mouth and a dry mouth that keeps me from getting uninterrupted sleep.

Thanks in advance for any input and your continued moral support.

Best Regards,

SCC, lateral tongue, age 53, Tongue resection & neck dissection 5/6/11; T1N2BM0, RTX (35 sessions starting 6/8/11)/chemo (3x starting 6/10/11) Last cisplatin 7/22. RTX complete 7/27. PEG in 6/9/11, out 8/31/11
#138082 - 08/14/11 05:21 AM Re: Tongue hardening after radiation? [Re: cs-scc]  
Joined: Jun 2010
Posts: 153
Stily1 Offline
"OCF Canuck, across the pond"
Stily1  Offline
"OCF Canuck, across the pond"
Senior Member (100+ posts)

Joined: Jun 2010
Posts: 153
London England
Hi Chetan,

I can tell you I went through a rather prolonged period of being very worried that every little bump and soreness and white spot and tingling sensation and vision changes and hearing changes etc. etc. was a problem, but for me, none of them were. That said, I don't think anyone on here will be able to give you a firm opinion and you should, in due time, ask your appropriate professional. In my opinion, of course part of your tongue is hard, it's been shot with a ray gun! and will probably be fine. But that's just my opinion.

As for the dry mouth waking you up, yeah, happens to me still, although not all the time. I find that the xylitol mints (Theramints are the sort of industrial product given to me by my dentist) tucked under my tongue go a long way towards keeping my throat lubricated, however a word of caution, it might be too early in your healing process for that!

Over all it sounds like you're doing quite well. A month after my treatment I was a right mess! But now, not quite 1.5 years out, I'm doing quite well.

Good luck!


47 yr old male non-smoker, social drinker, fit. Jan'10, Stg3 rt tonsil+rt neck SCC, HPV+, rad+chmo Vancouver Cda. 2yr clear Apr'12 London UK. Apr'13 mets recur to lymph btw left lung & aorta, 3x Cisplatin+5FUchemo+20 rad, was all clear but 6-mo PET-CT shows mets to pleura around left lung, participating in St 1 trial of GDC-0980. GDC lost effect and ended July'14, bad atrial fibrillation requiring hospitalisation, start more standard chemo 10 Sep 2014.
Sadly has passed away, notified Jan 2015.
#138087 - 08/14/11 02:18 PM Re: Tongue hardening after radiation? [Re: Stily1]  
Joined: Dec 2010
Posts: 5,260
Cheryld Offline
"OCF Canuck"
Cheryld  Offline
"OCF Canuck"
Patient Advocate (old timer, 2000 posts)

Joined: Dec 2010
Posts: 5,260
Toronto canada
Hey chetan - not sure if you had your tongue rebuilt - I did, I have a semi hard ridge in the operative area that when my tongue finally is a normal size (it's still a little swollen from rads 3 months out) - will actually be the side of my tongue - I think the plastics guy shaped it that way. I have had one completely clear scan so I know it's not a tumor - in your case it could be the same - or perhaps a little scar tissue? Also on the right side (this gave me a mild freak out because this is my old tongue) I had a few hardened ridges like blisters but more hard than an actual blister. They were midway towards the back they were there from week three in rads and hung around until a week ago... They were in an area that was rubbing on my upper molars. I have a cross bite this means my mouth is small (despite the fact that most people who know me would disagree) and my teeth were crowded so two of my molars are in a little in a little from the natural tooth line - they were rubbing and irritating my tongue to no end... Making an irritated tongue even more so. Well last week I visited my dental oncologist and told him to file the two molars a little smoother. I told him why he said - your tongue is still swollen. Most people think their mouths are full of nothing - but it isn't it's full of tongue! When the swelling goes down you won't have the rubbing problem. I told him in my opinion the cancer I had may have been caused by long term irritation to the area - and I'm not looking for a repeat. He kind of poopooed that idea but filed them and now my tongue is almost completely healed from a blister stand point (still waiting for some of my poor taste buds to stand up and fall into line though) try not to worry too much but do have it checked out - just to ease your mind - the oral mucosa takes a while to heal after radiation. I still have a few blisters in the back corners of my mouth but they are painless - and my cheeks - particularly the left are still swollen - ( though they generally deflate somewhat during the day) - I do lymphatic massage so this helps both my neck and cheeks, and have it done professionally once a week -(it feels weird when I'm laying there because I can actually feel my tongue deflating somewhat) we think that we're finished radiation and we should heal but we've had some pretty nasty stuff done to us - so it takes a while. Take care!

Cheryl : Irritation - 2004 BX: 6/2008 : Inflam. BX: 12/10, DX: 12/10 : SCC - LS tongue well dif. T2N1M0. 2/11 hemigloss + recon. : PND - 40 nodes - 39 clear. 3/11 - 5/11 IMRT 33 + cis x2, PEG 3/28/11 - 5/19/11 3 head, 2 chest scans - clear(fingers crossed) HPV-, No smoke, drink, or drugs, Vegan

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