Oral complications in the treatment of cancer patients


Sam T. Hwang, Department of Dermatology, FEC 4100, 9200 W. Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53226, USA. Tel: 414-955-3100, Fax: 414-955-6221, E-mail: sthwang@mcw.edu


Oral Diseases (2011) 17, 550–559

While treatment for cancer in terms of chemotherapy and radiation therapy have evolved significantly since their inception, both of these cancer treatment modalities, especially if used in combination (e.g., as with head and neck cancers), have a very real potential to result in painful and debilitating adverse effects that clearly decrease quality of life and, potentially, increase mortality due to cancer. Herein, we discuss the prevalence and etiology of three broad categories of oral complications found during the treatment of cancer patients: mucositis, dysgeusia, and infectious disease. Lastly, we present therapeutic options that may be helpful in ameliorating these uncomfortable and, sometimes, life-threatening oral complications.