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Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Nose block and mucus

Sharing by Mr. Dave Cheow - cancer survivor (28/08/2011)

" My name is Dave - an NPC Stage-2 Survivor for 9 yrs. My treatment was radiotherapy only. I signed on for a 'guinea pig" treatment program (in medical term, a clinical trial) which gave a double dosage of radiotherapy daily in the second 3 weeks of the full 6-week radiotherapy treatment. I was informed that this treatment had a higher recovery rate, as previously tested in Germany.

Since the treatment ended until now, my nose has been accumulating lots of mucus and have to blow out my mucus regularly. I never had this mucus problem in my life until this side effect kicked in immediately after my treatment. As my NPC tumor was found in my right side of the nasopharyngeal, the right of my nose is probably more damaged then the left side. Hence more mucus accumulates in the right side of my nose. When I'm normal and well, the mucus is clear. The mucus turns yellowish if I'm having a cold or flu. When I'm down with a bad flu, the mucus color changes to dark yellow and looked very gloomy. However, the mucus has never smell bad until about 1 year ago.

Over the last 1 year, I realized the mucus from the right side of my nose has changed or I can say - 'mutated'. When I am down with flu with symptoms of blocked or running nose, the mucus from the right side of the nose becomes dark yellow and the mucus smells bad. The mucus is thinner, but it can drip freely without me realizing it. When it does drip, I'll have to bend down and tilt my head downwards to blow hard on the right side of the nose to get rid of the mucus. It is only in this position that I can effectively clear the mucus from the right side of my nose by blowing hard repeatedly. It is also in this position that I experience the worst ever smell that I can ever imagine coming from my body, i.e from the mucus from the right side of my nose. The stench from the mucus also affects my breath very much that I have to keep going to the toilet to wash up.

I also take longer time to recover from the flu since. Instead of taking just 1 antibiotic to recover in the past, now I may have to resort to taking 2 types of antibiotics at the same time. On the advice of my doctor, I'll now turn to more frequent flushing of my nose with the recommended nose wash and hopefully this helps to slow down the worsening of this particular side effect."

Mr. Dave Cheow – 9th year cancer survivor

1 comment:

  1. Dear Dave,

    Thanks for the sharing. Nasal dryness, smelly discharge and blocked nose are common side effects of radiotherapy. The mucus in the nose is connected to the back of the mouth and drains into the throat and there are connected through what doctors called sinuses over the nose and face area.

    After radiotherapy, the connection of these sinuses does not work well and there tend to be blocked and retained longer at the sinuses area. These in turn cause the smell when the blockage is to a certain degree and considerable effort or sneezing is needed to expel these mucus. The blocked sinuses is also a good medium for bacterial growth that contributed to the smell.

    I would advise regular flushing of the nasal sinuses. The best way to get into all these connecting sinuses is to do a nasal douching. This is a technique when 150-250mls of water or light content salty water sometimes with a bicarbonate or a isotonic solution is flushed into the sinuses to clear the sinuses daily. One of the product I commonly recommend is called FLO SINUS CARE. You can type into google search and find this product on the web and there are YouTube videos on the use as well. This product is available throughout all the hospitals in Singapore. It is best to talk to your Consultant ENT or Radiation Oncologists about the use.

    Dr. Choo - Medical Adviser