Targeting cancer - Side effects of radiation therapy

Follow-up care

You will need regular checkups of your face, mouth, throat and neck after treatment for salivary gland cancer. This will include a physical exam. Some patients may also need imaging of their mouth using CT, MRI  and PET scans, however, most patients with salivary gland cancer won't need this. It is important to see your cancer care team for regular follow-up visits to make sure that if the cancer comes back it is caught early and can be treated. If you have any concerns between appointments you should contact your doctor. Ask your doctor whether this is needed for you.

Mental health for people with cancer

Sometimes this is referred to as psychosocial aspects or survivorship.
Being diagnosed with cancer and having treatment can lead to extra worries or concerns for you and the people caring for you. Depending on the treatment, you may experience any of the following:

  • low mood or depression

  • anxiety

  • disfigurement

  • difficulties with eating

  • difficulties with speaking

  • changes in sexual activity.

You may have got through the diagnosis and treatment for salivary gland cancer, but you may be finding it difficult to deal with some of the side effects of treatment. Speak with you doctor about any difficulties you may be experiencing. Your doctor may give you a referral to a psychologist or another healthcare professional who can help you. Speak with your family and friends too about any concerns you may have. 

You may find it helps to join a patient support group and speak with others who are having treatment for head and neck cancer.
You can also find help and advice in online self-help resources such as beyondblue

Further information about coping with cancer is available here