Mucositis is defined as soreness and inflammation of the mouth or gut. It is a usual side effect of radiotherapy or chemotherapy treatment for cancer.
What are the possible signs?
- Mouth ulcers
- Sore mouth
- Dry mouth and lips
- Difficulty swallowing, talking or eating
- Bleeding from the bottom or pain during bowel movement
These signs usually start around 1-2 weeks after cancer treatment is started.
Management of mucositis
It is important to note that mucositis is expected to heal within a few weeks after the cancer treatment is finished.
- Pain medications
- Mouthwash that cleans, numbs and protects the mouth
- Gels or sprays that maintain moistness of the mouth or saliva substitutes
- Medications to control diarrhea or lessen the soreness within the bottom or rectum
Remember that keeping the mouth clean and making the necessary dietary changes can greatly help if one has mucositis.
- Brush the teeth using a soft-bristled toothbrush at a minimum of 2 times a day
- Floss at a minimum of once a day
- Rinse the mouth using warm water several times throughout the day
- Increase the intake of water
- Provide crushed ice for the individual to suck on
- Eat moist, soft foods
- Chew on sugar-free gum to keep the mouth moist