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Oncology Supporting Your Practice

Oral Complications during Cancer Therapy: Viral Infections

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Dr. Joel Epstein and Dr. Deborah Saunders return to Oasis Discussions to discuss viral infections and how they may present in cancer patients. Diagnosis of these infections requires asking the correct questions of the patient to determine if the patient may be a carrier of the virus, clinical presentation, nature and timing during cancer therapy and the appropriate tests. In some instances, prophylactic management may be considered.

Most viral infections are reactivation of viral infections that are latent in the host. The virus uses the host’s DNA or RNA to reactivate and replicate themselves. The bulk of these infections are from the herpes family – herpes simplex, varicella zoster or cytomegalovirus. Human papillomaviruses, the Epstein-Barr virus and human immunodeficiency viruses can also impact the immunocompromised in cancer patients.

Viral management is through systemic therapy. HSV can be managed by acyclovir but dosages may be altered depending on the host’s state of health. Cancer Care Ontario (CCO) has information on and guidelines for management of oral herpes infections.


Full Presentation (12.20″)


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