What causes feeling of lump in throat or something stuck in throat? - Dr. Satish Babu K
Feels Like a Choke Collar After Tongue Cancer Treatment
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My husband had a bilateral neck dissection recently after being treated with chemo and radiation for base of tongue squamous cell carcinoma. Now he has a lot of severe tightness in the neck, and says it feels like a "choke collar."
Radiation and chemotherapy can cause increased fibrosis or scarring of the skin and deep tissues of the neck. Neck dissection, which removes cancerous lymph nodes and oftentimes the surrounding muscles and vessels, can induce even further scarring. The end result is a very fibrotic or "woody" neck.
Like your husband, many patients complain of tightness around the neck, and even a choking feeling. Fortunately, much of the initial tightness will resolve once the body has had a chance to remodel the scar tissue. This can take months, however. Physical therapy, including range of motion exercises, can help in many cases.
Taking care of your skin during radiation also can help minimize scarring. Products such as Aquaphor and Silvadene (silver sulfadiazine) creams — originally designed for skin burns — can be helpful. Smoking, in addition to causing cancer, will greatly decrease your ability to heal, as the nicotine causes constriction of the small vessels of the skin and soft tissue.
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