One potential side effect from chemotherapy and radiation is developing mouth sores. I met a friend who was about six weeks ahead of me in his treatment of Non-Hodgkin's' Lymphoma and was a major help to me. On my first visit to his home, he took me into his kitchen and showed me his jar of half baking soda and half salt next to his sink. He said, you must rinse with a teaspoon of this and warm water several times a day after you eat and before you go to bed.
Of course, I before starting treatment, I spoke to my oncologist, and she told me and confirmed that oral health is vital to healing. She said, mucositis can cause pain and infections. Mouth sores can make it difficult to eat, drink and swallow. She also advised me to get a gentle toothbrush like a Sonicare. Regular brushing can be to harsh on these delicate membranes.
Mouth Sore Symptoms
These symptoms are discussed in www.cancercare.org, a wonderful source for cancer resources.
- Gums appear to be swollen and red
- Throat and mouth feel sore or tender
- Small ulcers
- Discomfort in the throat or mouth, especially when eating hot or cold foods
- A change in the amount of mucus in the mouth
When to Call your Doctor
When you are going through treatment, you will need to use your journal to write down any symptoms you may be having. Be on the lookout for these sores (your mouth will be sore if you have them). Also, call the doctor if you have a fever or you are unable to eat or drink.
If you do get some mouth pain, you can have a sugar-free Popsicle or some ice chips. There are other rinses available, so talk with your dentist. You don't want mouthwash with alcohol because this can further irritate your mouth.
I found avoiding spicy food and staying hydrated was also helpful. Honestly, only bland healthy food tasted good on my R-CHOP regimen anyway.
At Chia's Silver Lining, we are working to provide comfort, compassion, and community to those going through cancer or other serious illnesses. If you are a patient, caregiver, or friend, Chia's Silver Lining can bridge the gap in medical care to help you focus on the other types of healing.