Chemotherapy is an effective mesothelioma treatment because it interferes with the growth of rapidly dividing cells. Patients undergoing chemotherapy treatment are often plagued with mouth sores because the cells in the mucous linings of the mouth are also rapidly dividing. Some patients being treated with radiation therapy also encounter mouth sores. Mouth sores are a common and uncomfortable side effect of chemotherapy, but there are steps you can take to minimize mouth sores and ease your discomfort.
Prevent Mouth Sores
- To make sure that your mouth is healthy, it’s a good idea to see your dentist prior to chemotherapy treatment.
- Suck on ice cubes during chemotherapy treatment. The cold can reduce blood flow to the mouth, which lessens your chances of getting mouth sores.
- Stay hydrated and keep your mouth from drying out by sucking on a hard candy or chewing gum.
- Soon, doctors hope to prevent mouth sores completely. Right now a drug called Kepivance is undergoing clinical trials to see if it is helpful in the prevention of mouth sores in cancer patients.
Ease the Discomfort of Mouth Sores
- Avoid eating foods that can further irritate your mouth sores, like foods that are hot, salty, or very acidic.
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine.
- Avoid foods that are hard or rough—foods should be lukewarm and soft.
- Cold foods often help ease the pain of mouth sores. Make sure you are well stocked with popsicles, ice cream, and other frozen foods.
- Use a straw when drinking liquids.
- Use a teaspoon instead of a tablespoon when you eat.
- Discuss your mouth sores with your doctor. He or she may be able to prescribe a topical anesthetic or suggest other sources of relief.