A dry scratchiness in your throat and pain when swallowing can make it hard to eat or get a good night's sleep. Usually caused by a cold or the flu, a sore throat also can be a side effect of some breast cancer treatments.
The following treatments for breast cancer might cause a sore throat:
- radiation therapy
- hormonal therapy:
- Tykerb (chemical name: lapatinib), a targeted therapy
A sore throat also can be caused by some pain medications.
Managing a sore throat
If your sore throat lasts longer than a week, or if you have difficulty breathing, swollen or tender glands in your neck, or pus in your throat, call your doctor. You might have an infection. Try these tips to soothe a sore throat:
- Gargle with warm salt water at least once an hour to help ease pain.
- Stay hydrated with warm fluids such as tea or clear soup to soothe your throat.
- Drink warm water with honey and lemon to help ease pain.
- Eat soft, cool foods such as milkshakes and pudding to soothe the discomfort.
- Try throat lozenges to help relieve the pain. Menthol throat lozenges can cool nasal passages.
- Keep a humidifier or vaporizer in your bedroom. The cool mist can help soothe a swollen throat while you're sleeping.
- Avoid smoking and being around smoke — smoke can make your throat feel worse.
- See the tips on how to manage swallowing problems if you’re having difficulty swallowing.