Recently, a few new survivors who have just completed their radiation therapy (RT) treatment called me to say that they have found blood in their phlegm when they flush their nose and throat. They were anxious and wanted to know if there was any significant relating to their cancer.
The response that I gave is as follows:-
- The tissues within the nasal area are weaken/scarred/damaged from the RT treatment. Therefore blowing one’s nose vigorously will result in further tear causing it to bleed. And as long as the bleeding stops after a while then it is fine.
- The tissues will take sometime to heal and therefore when they do their nose toilet to do a gentle blow in order not to further aggravate the tissue.
- That it has nothing to do with a relapse/recurrence of cancer.
- However, should the bleeding continue non stop, they should seek medical attention
After RT treatment, all survivors will need to flush their nose daily twice during their toilet to clear the mucus and phlegm. This is because the nose is now dry from the RT damage and the body system in no longer able to clear the mucus and phlegm on its own. The nose flush can be done through the mixture use of sodium bicarbonate and sea salt (see story on Nose Flushing – What You Need To Do).
I hope this clarification helps to ease and clear any doubts with regard to blood with phlegm.
Contributed by Teo Thiam Chye (TC)
Date: 26 January 2014
Survivor since 2003
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