Even though a head and neck cancer radiation is one of the most effective ways to handle cancer cells, it comes with a lot of side effects. Some head and neck cancer radiation long term side effects may still be easy to manage though. For instance, a radiation therapy that involves the head and neck has affects on the developing adult teeth that lie within the jawbone. This will cause an eruption of teeth in an abnormal alignment (teeth may be crooked). However, other side effects can be an extreme case.
The effects may begin immediately you are subjected to cancer radiation or may take some time. It can highly depend on the radiation technique and dose used for the process. When the head and the neck are directly involved, this may mean the cells have spread in the area within the head and the neck. When radiation targets the neck and the head, it may affect the normal tissues leading to some of the side effects that may be experienced.
Radiation on the neck may affect the salivary gland which is located on both sides of the neck. The long term effect will interfere with the production of saliva leading dry mouth which may cause a lot of discomfort during eating and speaking. Your dental care is likely to be affected due to the reduced saliva supply since it’s the saliva that helps in bacteria killing. When radiation is done frequently on the neck, it can easily interfere with the tissues located within the mount and around the throat. The whole process may lead to swelling around the neck after which may later require surgery to eliminate this and this can worsen the condition.
Different technological changes have been deployed to help handle head and neck cancer radiation long term side effects. Proton therapy and the IMRT are some of the latest improvements that will work in the recovery process to achieve full restoration. During cancer radiation, the functionality of the thyroid is monitored after the treatment is completed before the use of hormones is suggested for patients.