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Hello, my husband is currently undergoing second round of chemo and then he continues with radiation treatment for squamous cell cancer he got diagnosed with six months ago. After the first round of radiation therapy he started to develop mouth ulcers as his salivary glands didn't work at all. The problem was still there before he started the chemo and his oncologist said it's not uncommon to happen since radiation was focused on his throat. But the problem is now after the chemo, his jaw and the right side of neck/ face started to swell up. The oncology nurses don't seem to think this is something to be worried about since it doesn't seem like they're doing anything to stop it. I understand how radiation caused the damage to salivary glands, but is this face and jaw swelling a common side effect of chemo?

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Hello,

you didn't mention if cancerous cells were located at the neck or close around, but one of the difficult side effects most patients who have to do a radiation therapy for tumors and cancer that's mainly located in the neck, head or chest experience is damage to salivary glands and lymph nodes around the area that received the most radiation. Unfortunately, chemo just worsens this side effect and can lead to development of lymphedema - swelling similar to one your husband is experiencing. Lymphedema is basically built up lymph fluid that can't flow away because surrounding lymph nodes are damaged. I'm sure your husband will get some relief from this, too - there are procedures to remove the built up fluid. But I'm assuming your husband oncologist is waiting because your husband needs further therapy. However, I'd recommend you to try talking directly to the nurses and his oncologist

Wish you all the best, 

Nicole

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