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Regimen Information

For Cisplatin + radiation, including Side Effects

Cisplatin + radiation

Drugs in this Regimen:

For the treatment of Head and Neck Cancer

How Cisplatin + radiation chemotherapy is given and possible side effects.

Cisplatin + radiation for the treatment of Head and Neck Cancer

Cisplatin + Radiation is used in the treatment of head and neck cancer.

MOST COMMON SIDE EFFECTS OF CISPLATIN + RADIATION

  • Infection

  • Mouth Sores

  • Nausea & Vomiting

  • Neuropathy

For more information, see the 'Expert Resources' tab below.

Community Responses

Often, the most helpful information regarding treatment side effects comes not from clinical brochures, but rather from other patients like you. We've collected the most helpful community resources to help you prepare for the side effects and coping tips for your chemotherapy regimen.

What side effects did you experience while on this medication?

The following have been voted the 3 most helpful responses to this question.

Hi, I'm Bill Clyne

I was stage 4 unknown primary – wanted the docs to be as aggressive as they could just short of killing me so they could kill off the cancer. Had modified RND, Cisplatin, Carboplatin, Erbitux and Taxol, and 33 rounds of radiation – not an unusual treatment. I’m six years out and have some dings from the treatment but would do it again. Nausea was the worst for me, they gave me Compazine and Ataivan (not sure of spelling) alternating every 4 hours – still had nausea but perhaps it would have been worse without the drugs. Radiation was tough but I forced myself to swallow (had a Peg tube as a backup and used it to supplement my eating). You might want to check the attache link – I’m trying to raise funds for SPOHNC, a great support organization for head and neck cancer patients and caregivers. Wishing you the best!! http://www.indiegogo.com/head-and-neck?a=1034285

  • Thu Nov 8, 2012
Hi, I'm David Gardner

I had cisplatin,5FU,and radiation therapy all at the same time. I had many side effects at the time. Cerebellar toxicity, mouth sores, and many others. I have been in remission for several years but have developed stenosis of the esophagus, lack of saliva,inability to swallow properly,severe trismus, very labile blood pressure. The other night my B.P. went from 204 to 53 within a half hour..This was the result of Baro Reflex Failure. Also,I have numbness of my chin and left side of my face.The more time goes by the sicker I get. I also frequently get bacterial pneumonia due to aspiration. Yuk Also all nutrtion has to via my feeding tube. Also, ataxia getting more severe. I get fatigued very rapidly.
Enough whining Dave

  • Sun Jul 21, 2013
Hi, I'm Pam P

I refused chemo…they wanted to do Cisplatin. The potential side effects were too horrendous. I had parotid cancer (salivary gland) but had not spread to lymph nodes. It will be 2 years in December since my surgery. I underwent Proton Therapy Radiation and am still suffering consequences from that. Radiation with simultaneous radiation can be extremely debiliating. I preferred to take my chances.

  • Thu Nov 8, 2012
Hi, I'm David Gardner

I had cisplatin,5FU,and radiation therapy all at the same time. I had many side effects at the time. Cerebellar toxicity, mouth sores, and many others. I have been in remission for several years but have developed stenosis of the esophagus, lack of saliva,inability to swallow properly,severe trismus, very labile blood pressure. The other night my B.P. went from 204 to 53 within a half hour..This was the result of Baro Reflex Failure. Also,I have numbness of my chin and left side of my face.The more time goes by the sicker I get. I also frequently get bacterial pneumonia due to aspiration. Yuk Also all nutrtion has to via my feeding tube. Also, ataxia getting more severe. I get fatigued very rapidly.
Enough whining Dave

  • Sun Jul 21, 2013

This discussion needs your voice!

What were the specific side effects that you experienced while taking this medication? How did you manage them?

What coping tips would you give to new patients on this regimen?

Hi, I'm David Gardner
I had squamous cell cancer of the soft palate. I was treated with 5fu and cisplatin and radiation concurrently. My immediate side effects were nauseau and sores in the mouth. Also, my salivary glands were damaged and I had no sense of taste. It took several years for me to get some taste back and I now have a thick mucousy presence in my mouth. As the years went by I developed baro reflex failure, bacterial pneumonia due to aspiration, loss of feeling on my chin and part of left side of face. Oh, I have dysphagia, severe trismus, and ataxia. This is all due to the treatment of 12 yeARS AGO. I KNOW I BEAT THE ODDS THEY GAVE ME At THE OUTSET BUT LIFE SUCKS RIGHT NOW. aLL THE BOUTS OF BACTERIAL PNEUMONIA HAVE LEFT ME VERY WEAk AND I HAD TO RETIRE FROM MY JOB BECAUSE I JUST COULDN’T DO IT ANY MORE. I cannot eat anything by mouth anymore All my nutritional intake is via a feeding tube. If you are getting similar treatments please find out what you can do to prevent side affects that may occur in the distant future mainly because of stenosis.
  • Sat Sep 7, 2013

This discussion needs your voice!

What do you wish you had known before taking this medication? What information would you like to pass on to patients who are beginning this medication?

Treatment Overview

This chemotherapy regimen is commonly used to treat:

See Expert Resources

The Navigating Care Library includes articles about cancer, chemotherapy regimens and drugs from the the National Cancer Institute and other experts.

Specific Facts for Your Diagnosis

Learn about treatment options and managing side effects from experts.

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