AAOM Members Featured in The Dermatologist Magazine

Oral Mucositis During Cancer Treatment: A Primer for Dermatology

One of the most painful and debilitating side effects of cancer treatment, oral mucositis occurs when chemotherapy and/or radiation breaks down the rapidly dividing epithelial cells of the oral mucosa. The result is a painful, burning sensation in the mouth; erosions and ulcers on the tongue or inside of cheeks; and difficulty in chewing, swallowing, and/or talking. In the worst cases, the condition interferes with eating and drinking, necessitating the use of feeding tubes to ensure nutrition. It may also risk interrupting the cancer treatment itself if the mucositis is extremely severe.

Dermatologists may encounter oral mucositis in patients undergoing treatment for malignancies of the head and neck, said Vivek Verma, MD, a radiation oncologist with Allegheny Health Network in Pittsburgh, PA. Oral mucositis can also affect the lip, which would be noticeable on a skin exam. Dr Verma is one of six physicians who shared their knowledge of this painful condition, who it affects, and how it is treated to better inform dermatologists of a relatively common adverse effect of advanced cancer treatments.

Read Full Article