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Frequency and Evolution of Acute Oral Complications in Patients Undergoing Radiochemotherapy Treatment for Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Journal article
Authors M. Palmieri
D. J. S. Sarmento
A. P. Falcão
V. A. O. Martins
T. B. Brandão
K. Morais-Faria
A. C. P. Ribeiro
Bengt Hasséus
Daniel Giglio
P. H. Braz-Silva
Published in Ear, Nose and Throat Journal
ISSN 0145-5613
Publication year 2019
Published at Institute of Odontology, Section 1
Institute of Clinical Sciences, Department of Oncology
Language en
Links dx.doi.org/10.1177/0145561319879245
Keywords deglutition disorders, dysgeusia, mucositis, radiotherapy, xerostomia
Subject categories Otorhinolaryngology

Abstract

Despite its effectiveness, radiochemotherapy treatment in the head and neck region is accompanied by acute oral complications such as oral mucositis, dysphagia, xerostomia, and dysgeusia. The aim of this study was to analyze and prospectively assess the frequency and evolution of acute oral complications during radiochemotherapy in patients diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma in the head and neck region. We have analyzed oral complications of 20 patients during 6 weeks of radiochemotherapy treatment for squamous cell carcinoma. Oral mucositis was evaluated according to the World Health Organization criteria, dysphagia, and dysgeusia according to the National Cancer Institute Common Toxicity Criteria, and xerostomia according to parameters set by the Seminars in Radiation Oncology. Mucositis was first observed in the second week and all patients presented some degree of mucositis in the fourth week of radiotherapy. Xerostomia and dysphagia were initially reported already in the first week of radiotherapy. All patients presented xerostomia in the fourth week; however, dysphagia was observed in all patients, only in the sixth week. Dysgeusia was first observed in the second week, becoming more severe in the third week. Acute oral complications can be observed throughout the treatment, but the third week of radiotherapy seems to represent a critical week, regardless of the grade of the complication. The sixth week presents the worst grades of these complications. Knowledge about the natural course of oral complications during radiotherapy is important to develop better strategies for treatment and improve the patients’ quality of life. © The Author(s) 2019.

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