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Thursday, October 5, 2023

After irradiation, I no longer feel the flavors: I’ll be back

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I have had 35 radiation treatments for two squamous cell carcinomas, one in the tongue and one in the esophagus. I start to eat something, but I don’t feel the flavors. Sometimes it feels like I have flour in my mouth, other times I get a strong salty taste. Will I go back to eating normally?

He answers Vittoria Donatoscientific director of the INI Group, Rome (GO TO THE FORUM)

If I understand correctly, the radiotherapy treatments performed by you constituted a radical indication, ie a curative intent of complete tumor eradication at two disease sites, which are in any case extremely complex. As you can understand, it passes radiotherapy treatments difficult to performperformed with large, inhomogeneous radiation fields, with high doses of radiotherapy e.g in very delicate anatomical areas. In such oncological situations, the problem is to eradicate the cancer without significantly affecting the nearest healthy organs. In general, the risk-benefit ratio is always in favor of radiotherapy, especially in tumors of the anatomical head and neck regionwhere the control of the disease is assured, even if the affected anatomy contains a series of critical organs for the quality of life or, even worse, for survival.

In this context, thanks to modern control, verification and implementation techniques, the radiotherapy treatment manages to be effective without being devastating to the patient. To answer your question, I hope first of all that the diagnostic tests, usually performed within the first six months after the end of treatment and usually with magnetic resonance, are negative for the presence of neoplastic disease. second the possibility of loss of taste (ageusia) or dry mouth (xerostomia) occurs after radiotherapy treatment, but is generally temporarywith return to normal after a very variable period, usually after six months but also in much longer periods.

These complications, often unavoidable in connection with the staging of the disease, strongly depend on intrinsic personal factors, but also on the radiotherapy regimens used, which in the specific case could only be carried out with high curative doses. It is very important that these disorders are immediately reported to the radiation oncologist who follows you and has specific expertise in guiding your follow-up (control over time). I hope that in your case the complications can disappear as soon as possible and that the clinical-instrumental diagnostic checks show the absence of a tumor now and in the future.

Source: Corriere

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