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#35763 03-19-2002 09:55 AM
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Hello, everyone. Just found this site a few days ago. My husband has just finished chemoradiotherapy for a Stage IV Squamous Cell Carcinoma in right tonsil that moved to the lymph nodes, developing a 6 cm tumor. We're now waiting 4 weeks for treatment to finish working on the tumor before they decided on the surgery or not. It was very comforting reading the post from the other wives. Thanks, ladies. My question tonight is has anyone developed a blood clot as a result from their port? Just two weeks ago my husband started to complain about a pain under his arm and then he noticed a small lump. Soon after that his arm swelled and we were off to get a doppler done from a vein specialist. They said that the port caused the clot and removed the port the very next day. Now he has to have his blood checked every three days to adjust the coumadin (blood thinner). I vaguely remember seeing something about clots and ports, but this was the last thing we expected. He was supposed to get his 4th week of chemo this week, but they decided not to do it because the port was out. They may still try to give him the 4th treatment later. Is this a common "side effect" of the ports?

Also, how many of you had some major dental work done prior to radiation to combat the condition that breaks down the jaw bone from radiation. Sorry, I forget the long name of this condition.

#35764 03-19-2002 09:57 AM
Joined: Mar 2002
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Patient Advocate (old timer, 2000 posts)
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OCF Founder
Patient Advocate (old timer, 2000 posts)

Joined: Mar 2002
Posts: 4,912
Likes: 52
I will address the second part of your question, as I have no experience with ports or personal chemotherapy. I had hoped to have the dental portion of the site up this week that answers this common question, but I will take an abbreviated shot at it here. Radiation treatments damage healthy tissues as well as kill malignant cells. One of the by products of radiation exposure to bone, is that the micro vacularization in it which supplies the blood, which in turn supplies the nutrients and oxygen, is partially destroyed by the radiation exposure. In the long run this means that that bone is not very efficient at healing after treatment with radiation. If you have a dental condition that in the future, after treatments, may require the extraction of a tooth, there is a risk that the "socket" in the bone where the tooth was, may not heal in properly, and a chronic condition may occur. This condition is known as osteoradionecrosis (bone/radiation/death). When this condition exists, the soft tissues overlying the necrotic bone will not heal, and you can develop a serious situation which MAY involve a surgery to remove the necrotic bone all the way back to some point in which there is healthy, well vascularized bone that will heal. Osteoradionecrosis can be sometimes treated with hyperbaric sessions in a pressurized, oxygen rich environment, like the kind of chamber they put divers in for decompression sickness. This super saturates the bone with more oxygen necessary to allow it to heal properly. It can be a long process, with 20 to 40 treatments or "dives" in the chamber. So having said all of that, the more prudent course of events would be to do the extraction of any marginal teeth which are compromised by periodontal disease, extensive caries, etc. BEFORE the radiation treatments begin, when things will still heal normally. Ideally, you would like to do any necessary dental work, including cleanings, and getting any significant periodontal (soft tissue gum disease) problems taken care of first. Patients undergoing radiation treatments have their mouths changed drastically as a result of the treatments. Saliva becomes thickened, and eventually dries up. This is due to radiation damage to the salivary glands. Your saliva has protective enzymes in it that help prevent tooth decay, and without this, you are at further risk of tooth decay. If there are problems that exist before treatment, they will only get worse during treatment because of these side effects. So what all that means is your mouth needs to be in the optimum condition before you start your radiation treatments, and during treatments when your mouth is very sore with mucositis and is full of thickened saliva, you still really have to work at keeping things clean and healthy. Fluoride applied to the teeth daily helps with the decay, but the periodontal conditions have to be dealt with though conscientious oral hygiene. (At a point in your life when you are so tired, sick, and sore that you really don't want to deal with it.) Those that do not make the effort, risk serious problems after the radiation treatments.


Brian, stage 4 oral cancer survivor. OCF Founder and Director. The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant.

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