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Dry Mouths For Cancer Patients To Soon Be Thing Of The Past

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Do you ever think about how many times you swallow? Probably not, but many cancer patients do. A new type of treatment is making their lives better.

Joen Timney is nearing the finish line of her 36 rounds of radiation therapy. A mysterious lump turned out to be a tumor in her salivary glands. Timney had surgery to remove the tumor and is undergoing intensity modulated radiation therapy at Wake Radiology to keep her cancer from spreading.

The therapy targets the tumor without damaging healthy tissue. The result: success with fewer side effects.

Timney has had some problems with dry mouth, but nothing like it could have been. Dr. Mark McLaughlin said most of the side effects are temporary.

"She'll be able to taste and eat more -- almost return to her normal life," McLaughin said.

Timney said she cannot wait.

"I'd go to Burger King and get a great, big Whopper," she said.

Timney should be able to enjoy that Whopper in just a couple more months. Doctors are finding a lot of good uses for IMRT. It is most commonly used to treat head and neck cancers, brain tumors, and prostate cancer.

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