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Keywords:

  • mucositis;
  • oral intake;
  • diet;
  • head and neck cancer;
  • radiotherapy;
  • chemotherapy

Abstract

Background.

Acute oral mucositis is associated with pain and impaired swallowing. Little information is available on the effects of chronic mucositis on swallowing.

Methods.

Sixty patients treated for cancer of the head and neck were examined during the first year after their cancer treatment. Oral mucosa was rated with the Oral Mucositis Assessment Scale. Stimulated whole-mouth saliva, oral pain rating, percent of oral intake, and 2 subscales of the Performance Status Scale for Head and Neck (PSS-HN) cancer were also collected.

Results.

Mucositis scores and pain ratings decreased over time while functional measures of eating improved over time. Reduction in chronic mucositis was correlated with improved oral intake and diet.

Conclusion.

Lack of association with pain was attributed to the absence of ulcerations. Continued impairment of oral intake during the first year posttreatment may be related to oral mucosal changes and other factors. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Head Neck, 2011