Complicating mucosal reactions in patients receiving radiation therapy for head and neck cancer

Authors

  • Joel B. Epstein DMD, MSD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Medical/Dental Staff, Division of Dentistry, British Columbia Cancer Agency [600 West 10th Avenue, Vancouver, BC, Canada V5Z 4E61; Clinical Professor, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada; Head, Department of Dentistry, Vancouver Hospital Health Sciences Centre; and Research Associate Professor, Department of Oral Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle
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  • Erik H. Van der Meij DDS

    1. Visiting Fellow, Division of Dentistry, British Columbia Cancer Agency
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Reprint requests should be addressed to Dr. Epstein.

Abstract

Radiation mucositis is characterized by erythema, pseudomem-branes, and ulceration of mucosa in the irradiated field. We present two cases of oral mucosal changes in patients treated with radiotherapy in the head and neck region, which included mucosal erythema and ulceration outside of the radiated fields. One case was confirmed as herpes virus infection, and the other was diagnosed as Sweet's syndrome. When mucositis extends beyond the radiation fields, the clinician should consider other causes of mucosal inflammation and erythema in order to begin appropriate management.

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