|Drs. Deborah Saunders and Joel Epstein return to Oasis Discussions to discuss oral care before, during and after head and neck cancer treatment. Cancer is the leading cause of mortality in the world and it is expected to continue to grow. Infection-related cancers such as HPV, EBV and HCV are expected to play an important role in this increase. It is forecasted that a dentist will see ~1.3 newly diagnosed case of head and neck cancer every 10 years for every 1115 patients in a practice. As such, detection is an important aspect of the oral and dental examination.
Oral care has been shown to decrease mucositis and osteoradionecrosis of the jaw and as such, it is recommended that patients receive appropriate oral care prior to beginning cancer treatment (chemo or chemo/radiation). Several acute and chronic complications can be reduced with proper dental management which lessens the burden of disease on the patient and ultimately, helps to reduce costs to the healthcare system.
The Multinational Association for Supportive Care in Cancer (MASCC) has taken leadership on producing and providing oral care guidelines for professionals. They are available in 21 languages and can be downloaded and given to patients from the site: www.mascc.org/oral-care-education.