Oral care of patients in the cancer setting

Barry Quinn, Frances Campbell, Lorraine Fulman , Jocelyn Harding, Susan Dargan, Jane Mathlin, Joanna Gemmill, Charles Kelly , Claire Morgan , Maureen Thompson, Sonya Hoy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Oral complications arising from cancer or its treatment, such as mucositis and dry mouth, are common. In the general cancer setting, oral complications can be expected in at least 50% of patients undergoing chemotherapy or targeted therapy to treat a solid tumour. In patients with head and neck cancers and in those undergoing haematopoietic stem cell transplantation, the incidence is much higher. Oral complications can cause distress, malnutrition and/or dehydration, inability to sleep, delays to treatment, long-term complications and increased morbidity. However, they are not inevitable and a planned, proactive team approach to oral care can assist in preventing them or in reducing their incidence and severity.
This article provides an overview of optimal oral care in the cancer setting, covering assessment, identification of risk factors, patient education, optimal care of the oral cavity, preventive measures and treatment options.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-42
JournalCancer Nursing Practice
Issue number5
Early online date15 Jun 2020
Publication statusPublished - 07 Sep 2020


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