Guidelines



Oral Management Guidelines

Oral problems, including oral mucositis (OM), can be a significant health burden for the individual. They also make substantial demands on health care resources.

The expert group estimate that both the health burden on the individual and the demands on health care resources can be greatly reduced by the correct proactive care and treatment of oral problems. It is anticipated that this guidance will assist teams in planning oral care. Cancer and its treatments can directly impact on the condition of the oral cavity, dental health and patient well-being (Haas & McBride, 2011), potentially causing severe and lasting physical, psychological and social problems (Sonis et al., 2004).

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Purpose of the Guidance

Cancer and its treatments can directly impact on the condition of the oral cavity, dental health and patient well-being, potentially causing severe acute and long term physical, psychological and social problems (Hass & Mc Bride 2011, Lalla et al 2014).

Oral problems, including Oral Mucositis (OM), can be a significant health burden for the individual and make substantial demands on health care resources. One woman undergoing treatment for cancer recalled;

‘My mouth became ulcerated and I could not swallow my own saliva. Every day of treatment brought some new horrifying change to my body’
- Liz

The expert group estimate, that the health burden on the individual and the demands on health care resources can be greatly reduced by the correct care and treatment of oral problems. It is anticipated that this guidance will assist teams in planning and implementing oral care.

The mouth provides a reflection of general health and may reveal some of the toxicities of cancer treatments (Haas & McBride, 2011). It is therefore the responsibility of the multi-professional team to anticipate, and attempt to minimise oral side effects in all patients undergoing care and treatment for cancer. The early detection of potential and actual problems, correct assessment, and treatment plans with active intervention are paramount, in order to avoid or minimise oral problems, prevent delays or interruptions to cancer treatment plans and to maximise patient safety and comfort (Haas & McBride, 2011).

Oral changes including oral damage can be caused by numerous factors including; the disease, the direct or indirect impact of cancer treatments and/or supportive treatments, co-existing co-morbidities and underlying oral health problems. Each of these factors should be considered while applying the principles set out in this guidance. One of the major challenges within the cancer setting continues to be the need to correctly address the potential and actual change caused by oral mucositis and oral damage.

Feedback on the Guidance

I think it’s an excellent resource - I think the appendices would be particularly useful in the clinical setting.R. Logan
President International Society for Oral Oncology
I absolutely love the stratification of people at risk. We tried to get it, but somehow couldn’t find a clear position. So I will use yours as an inspiration for our second edition. D. Riesenbeck
Oncologist, Germany
I think this is an excellent, user-friendly document, your group has done outstanding work.A. Hovan
Dentist, Canada
I think the material is very informative & useful in clinical settings.M. Tanay
Nurse Tutor, UK