Below is a list of certain prescribed medicines (tablets, capsules, creams and gels) that either worked or did not work during and after my chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments for ethmoid sinus cancer.
I say 'certain! because during the course of my cancer treatments I was offered and tried so many medicines to combat a variety of symptoms, side effects and pains that I actually lost track of what I was prescribed! Hence why I have only listed those that did work and those that I distinctly remember not working (either because of their foul taste and/or uselessness).
Doublebase Gel - 500g Bottle - Hydrating Base Moisturiser. I applied this whenever I needed to, usually two or three times a day, to cut out the burning and itching on my face and neck due to the strength of the last two weeks of radiotherapy treatments. I was happy with the results because they took out the pains and cleared up a lot of the redness.
Hydrocortisone Ointment - 1% Hydrocortisone - Similiar to the above, but it took off the burning and itching for longer. It usally lasted for around six hours per application, so I usually put it on in the morning, late afternoon and before going to bed. This ointment was ideal for the really severe burning, itching, stages of my recovery.
Tramadol - 50mg Capsules - I was taking this strong pain killer before my official cancer diagnosis, when the really strong headaches were starting, and have been taking it on/off ever since. At first it used to put me to sleep, mainly because my body was so exhausted, but after the tiredness phase passed it was still a useful pain killer.
Tranexamic Acid - 5% Mouthwash - I usually took this when I would wake up in the early morning (i.e. between 2am or 4am) to control overnight bleeding of my mouth palate and to create a protective layer for my mouth palate until I got up later and brushed my teeth. This was mainly because of the build up of blood overnight and because once taken I was not allowed to eat and drink for one hour.
Difflam - 300ml Bottle Oral Rinse - Although you are supposed to take this before meals to numb your throat, so swallowing is easier/more comfortable, I used it as need be; which was normally whenever my mouth became really dry. I would brush mouth teeth after soaking my mouth with water and then apply difflam. I found this great before going to bed or when waking up with a dry throat/mouth.
Co-Codamol - 30mg/500mg - Paracetamol (500mg) with Co-Dine (30mg) - These tablets are for treating a mild pain. They work well when taking every four hours to get rid of mild-strong headaches, mild mouth pains and general aches and pains and symptoms of a common cold.
I used to alternate these with Ibruprofen (i.e. 10am Co-Codamol, 12pm Ibruprofen 600mg, 2pm Co-Codamol, 4pm Ibruprofen 600mg and so on). This combination of tablets took care of a slight swelling I had on the inner walls of my throat, making swallowing easier.
GelClair - 21 x 15ml Oral-Rinse Sachets - I tried this a few times but all it did for me was leave me with a sticky substance around my mouth that I wouldn't then want to eat or drink with. Secondly, the gel never actually did anything to soothe or relieve my mouth (i.e. tongue/ulcer) pains. Saying that. As it might work for you, I would say "Give a try, for at least four times".
Lidocaine - Various 10mg Sprays/Solutions - Lidocaine, a mild version of cocaine, is a spray (that comes in other forms of solution) that numbs affected areas once sprayed on. You will feel as though you have been anaesthetised by a dentist when applied. However, I found it does not last that long. Around 20 minutes only. Hence why you should apply it just before a meal. I also found it burnt and therefore irritated any sprayed areas.
Always give a medicine at least a couple of tries before saying "It does not work for me". And also try them at different stages of your pain or radiotherapy treatments because sometimes a medicine is best suited to work at a particular pain level, at a certain period of radiotherapy treatment and/or after a certain period of usage.
Oxycodone Hydrochloride (Immediate Release) - 5mg / 10mg - I was given this to try in 5mg and then 10mg doses.
Apart from numbing my mouth slightly, in terms of me then being able to open my mouth easily even with mouth cracks (which the Doublebase Gel could also achieve), I did not really find these capsules useful. They were supposed to ease my internal mouth pains (i.e. take the sting off my mouth ulcers), but did nothing in that respect.
I had major problems getting many other tested medicines, not mentioned above, to work simply because of the excruciating burning and absolute dryness of my mouth (throat and tongue). Not many medicines could completely knock out their pains. Something I felt the so-called experts could never appreciate.
When they were telling me to eat fruit that would be okay for a non-cancer patient, but too tangy and stingy for a cancer patient, I knew they had no clue about cancer pains. They also suggested I eat foods that were totally against my diabetis, even stating they would be monitoring my diabetes closely. They did no such thing. In fact, they were relying on me to take my own blood sugar readings for example.
Until the nhs start hiring people who have had cancer, or at least listen more closely to cancer patients, their staff will never truly experience the physical and mental pains of cancer; and will therefore, unfortunately, still treat cancer patients as "NHS Numbers".