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Oral skin cancer - what happens next?(5 Posts)
My dad is 55 and has been diagnosed with Squamus cell carcinoma in his mouth/throat. In the last month since diagnosis he has had daily hospital appointments and 7 teeth out in surgery. They can't cut out the cancer so radiotherapy starts at the end of July or 7 weeks.
Does anyone have any advices the tips? He intends to work the whole time and is getting annoyed by daily appointments at the local hospital, usually last minute, and phone calls. The treatment will be done at a hospital an hour away and he's requested late appointments so he can still work all day.
I'm trying to do my best to support my parents (who are driving each other nuts) but I don't know how.
He will get "mucositis" which can be very sore, perhaps have a google of that?
Radiation will stop his saliva glands working so he will develop a dry mouth. This is unpleasant but also massively increases his risk of decay so it's important to get to the dentist regularly and use fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash etc. The dentist will be able to advise.
It can also lead to limited mouth opening which can be inconvenient, especially if he gets decay.
for you. PM me if you'd like m e to dig out some more info. I'm sure I had a journal article about this recently.
MacMillan nurses are a font of knowledge and help to patients and families dealing with cancer. There may be a nurse allocated to the unit treating your dad, who will be able to help with advising how treatments are managed locally and give advice re working etc.
The website below can give you and mum some tips about how you can help your dad with treatment.
best wishes to your dad and family
Thank you. I hadn't thought of Macmillan which is silly. I'll contact them.
Dad is allergic to fluoride so has bad teeth but is seeing the dentist lots. The worry at the moment is that his jaw will be destroyed by the therapy.
It all seems so unreal.
Not silly to not think of Macmillan - This diagnosis is all a big shock when it happens - It is hard to think straight.
As a follow up thought - your dad can get help with an oral health advisor again via dentist / Macmillan services or the hospital treating him. They will help your dad with looking after him remaining teeth. Simple things like changing his diet a bit, cutting out sugary foods/drinks or keeping sugar to mealtimes can help with preventing further tooth decay. Oral health advisors are also good at helping with dry mouth, again simple things like changing toothpastes to a sodium laurel sulphate free brand may give your dad some comfort as he is being treated. But if you contact them, they will be able to support him with all this and give appropriate tailored advice.
One of the things we found with my dad, (which I am sure you will want to do and if your dad will permit) is to have someone attend as many appointments with him as you can. It can be really helpful that any information is shared and understood by all and that your dad has everyone working together to help him. I know some folk like to go it alone with diagnosis such as this, but if you can get your dad to agree, it will help you all get to air your questions and thoughts, which helps will your family stress levels too.
My dad was frightened he would do things wrong and disrupt his treatment so would listen to medical folk and not to any common sense advice we would offer which frustrated my mum. So it was easier rather than stress him to ask mum to direct her questions/ care suggestions to the medical team, then dad knew it was ok and wouldn't get upset with her.
My dad had a different diagnosis but I appreciate the emotional roller coaster that your dads diagnosis will bring - I am here if you need me.
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