Mucositis: It is dose and rate limiting toxicity caused due to Cancer Therapy which is a painful and debilitating condition. Symptoms seen are Pain, Decrease in Oral and Pharyngeal function, Oral bleeding. Mucositis starts with an initial inflammatory epithelial and vascular phase. It starts with White patches on mucosa, caused by epithelial hyperplasia/hypertrophy and intra epithelial edema.

Chemotherapeutic Medications or Drugs causing Mucositis:

  • Cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan)
  • Gemcitabine (Gemzar)
  • Interleukin 2 (Proleukin)
  • Oxaliplatin (Eloxatin)
  • Procarbazine (Matulane)
  • Busulfan (Myleran, Busulfex)

The treatment kills an rapidly dividing cells lining the oral mucosa along with rapidly dividing cells of the tumor. This leads to inflammation of mucosa, sloughing of the epithelium and ulceration which causes the yellowish discoloration of the lesions.

Treatment of Mucositis:

  1. Frequent use of Opoid Analgesics is required because of Oral and Pharyngeal involvement.
  2. Amyfostine (Ethyol) is used to promote the repair of damaged DNA.
  3. Benzydamine Hydrochloride is used to decrease the signs and symptoms of Mucositis
  4. Maintain good oral hygiene
  5. Frequent Hydration and mouth rinsing is a must to keep your mouth wet
  6. Anesthetic mouthwash helps in reducing the burning and pain during eating

How long does it take for Mucositis to go away or heal?

Mucositis can be of two types – Mild and Severe.

Mild Mucosisits takes about 3 to 12 days to start healing from the day the lesions start to appear

Severe Mucositis takes about 3 to 12 weeks to heal from the day the lesions start to appear

Mucositis is most commonly caused due to Radiation treatment among other medications which lead to the lesions. Radiation leads to inflammation of the mucosal layer of the oral cavity and also affects the salivary glands decreasing the amount of saliva produced leading to Dry Mouth.

A new Radiation therapy technique has been introduced which prevents damage to the salivary glads called the Intensity-modulated radiotherapy or IMRT which helps in exposing only the affected tissues to radiation and not the surrounding tissues.