After a surgical procedure to the head or neck you may experience the following:
- ● Pain or discomfort – this is usually managed with pain relief medications.
- ● Numbness – you may experience numbness or loss of sensation. Depending on the area operated on, recovery of sensation may take a few months.
- ● Changes in speech – procedures are done to your mouth and throat may affect your speech. This could be temporary, and the involvement of speech & language therapist can aid in recovery and adaptation.
- ● Difficulty in chewing or swallowing – you may experience difficulty in chewing or swallowing. The speech & language therapist can also aid in recovery and teach swallow techniques.
After a radiation therapy to the head and neck, you may experience the following side effects. These may not be evident immediately but rather they could build up gradually:
- ● Fatigue
- ● Sore or dry mouth
- ● Thickened saliva
- ● Nausea
- ● Difficulty swallowing
- ● Altered taste & loss of appetite
- ● Tooth decay
- ● Hair loss to area of radiation
- ● Skin irritation and redness
- ● Impaired hearing & earache
Please inform your doctor if you experience any of the side effects in order to receive advice and if required, a prescription to help manage it. Many of those side effects can be managed, are temporary and may resolve after treatment is completed.
The side effects of chemotherapy vary according to the dose and regimen.
- ● Infection – chemotherapy can decrease your white blood cells which fight infection. This can make you more prone to infection. A decrease in white cells is called neutropenia and begins approximately one week after commencing chemotherapy. Contact your doctor or the local hospital if you experience a high temperature or feel suddenly unwell.
- ● Bleeding and bruising – you may also notice a tendency to bleed and bruise more easily. This is due to the decrease in the number of platelets which aid in blood clotting and wound healing. You may require a transfusion if the platelet count drops too low.
- ● Fatigue – along with the white cells and platelets, your red blood cells may also drop which can lead to fatigue. This may also require a transfusion if it drops too low.
Additional side effects include:
– Hair loss
– Sore mouth
– Dry skin
– Nausea & vomiting
– Changes of bowel habit
Please inform your doctor if you experience any of the above side effects in order to receive advice and if required, a prescription to help manage it. Many of those side effects can be managed, are temporary and may resolve after treatment is completed.