Hematology-oncology patients undergoing chemotherapy and hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) recipients are at risk for oral complications which may cause significant morbidity and a potential risk of mortality. This emphasizes the importance of basic oral care prior to, during and following chemotherapy/HSCT. While scientific evidence is available to support some of the clinical practices used to manage the oral complications, expert opinion is needed to shape the current optimal protocols.
This position paper was developed by members of the Oral Care Study Group, Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer/International Society of Oral Oncology (MASCC/ISOO) and the European Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation (EBMT) in attempt to provide guidance to the health care providers managing these patient populations.
The protocol on basic oral care outlined in this position paper is presented based on the following principles: prevention of infections, pain control, maintaining oral function, the interplay with managing oral complications of cancer treatment and improving quality of life.
Using these fundamental elements, we developed a protocol to assist the health care provider and present a practical approach for basic oral care. Research is warranted to provide robust scientific evidence and to enhance this clinical protocol.