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mesothelioma chemotherapy

Mouth, Gum, and Throat Problems

 

Some mesothelioma medicine can cause stomatitis - sores in the mouth and throat. Anticancer drugs also can irritate and dry out those tissues or cause them to bleed. Good oral care is important is therefore during cancer treatment.

In addition to being painful, mouth sores can become infected by the many germs that live in the mouth. Every step should be taken to prevent infections, because they can be hard to fight during chemotherapy and can lead to serious problems.

Keeping your mouth, gums, and throat healthy

Talk to your doctor about seeing your dentist at least several weeks before you start chemotherapy. You may need to have your teeth cleaned and to take care of any problems such as cavities, gum abscesses, gum disease, or poorly fitting dentures. Ask your dentist to show you the best ways to brush and floss your teeth during chemotherapy. Chemotherapy can make you more likely to get cavities, so your dentist may suggest using a fluoride rinse or gel each day to help prevent decay.

Brush your teeth and gums after every meal. Use a soft toothbrush and a gentle touch. Brushing too hard can damage soft mouth tissues. Ask your doctor, nurse, or dentist to suggest a special toothbrush and/or toothpaste if your gums are very sensitive. Rinse with warm salt water after meals and before bedtime.

Avoid mouthwashes that contain any amount of alcohol. Ask your doctor or nurse to suggest a mild or medicated mouthwash that you might use. For example, mouthwash with sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) is non-irritating.

If you develop sores in your mouth, tell your doctor or nurse. You may need medicine to treat the sores. If the sores are painful or keep you from eating, you can try these ideas:

How can I cope with mouth sores?

  • Ask your doctor if there is anything you can apply directly to the sores or to prescribe a medicine you can use to ease the pain.
  • Eat foods cold or at room temperature. Hot and warm foods can irritate a tender mouth and throat.
  • Eat soft, soothing foods, such as ice cream, milkshakes, baby food, soft fruits (bananas and applesauce), mashed potatoes, cooked cereals, soft-boiled or scrambled eggs, yogurt, cottage cheese, macaroni and cheese, custards, puddings, and gelatin. You also can puree cooked foods in the blender to make them smoother and easier to eat.
  • Avoid irritating, acidic foods and juices, such as tomato and citrus (orange, grapefruit, and lemon); spicy or salty foods; and rough or coarse foods such as raw vegetables, granola, popcorn, and toast.

How can I cope with mouth dryness?

  • Ask your doctor if you should use an artificial saliva product to moisten your mouth.
  • Drink plenty of liquids.
  • Ask your doctor if you can suck on ice chips, popsicles, or sugarless hard candy. You can also chew sugarless gum. (Sorbitol, a sugar substitute that is in many sugar-free foods, can cause diarrhea in many people. If diarrhea is a problem for you, check the labels of sugar-free foods before you buy them and limit your use of them.)
  • Moisten dry foods with butter, margarine, gravy, sauces, or broth.
  • Dunk crisp, dry foods in mild liquids.
  • Eat soft and pureed foods.
  • Use lip balm or petroleum jelly if your lips become dry.
  • Carry a water bottle with you to sip from often.

Diarrhea in Mesothelioma Patients

When chemotherapy affects the cells lining the intestine, it can cause diarrhea (watery or loose stools). If you have diarrhea that continues for more than 24 hours, or if you have pain and cramping along with the diarrhea, call your doctor. In severe cases, the doctor may prescribe a medicine to control the diarrhea. If diarrhea persists, you may need intravenous (IV) fluids to replace the water and nutrients you have lost. Often these fluids are given as an outpatient and do not require hospitalization. Do not take any over-the-counter medicines for diarrhea without asking your doctor.

How can I help control diarrhea?

  • Drink plenty of fluids. This will help replace those you have lost through diarrhea. Mild, clear liquids, such as water, clear broth, sports drinks such as Gatorade, or ginger ale, are best. If these drinks make you more thirsty or nauseous, try diluting them with water. Drink slowly and make sure drinks are at room temperature. Let carbonated drinks lose their fizz before you drink them.
  • Eat small amounts of food throughout the day instead of three large meals.
  • Unless your doctor has told you otherwise, eat potassium-rich foods. Diarrhea can cause you to lose this important mineral. Bananas, oranges, potatoes, and peach and apricot nectars are good sources of potassium.
  • Ask your doctor if you should try a clear liquid diet to give your bowels time to rest. A clear liquid diet does not provide all the nutrients you need, so do not follow one for more than 3 to 5 days.
  • Eat low-fiber foods. Low-fiber foods include white bread, white rice or noodles, creamed cereals, ripe bananas, canned or cooked fruit without skins, cottage cheese, yogurt without seeds, eggs, mashed or baked potatoes without the skin, pureed vegetables, chicken, or turkey without the skin, and fish.
  • Avoid high-fiber foods, which can lead to diarrhea and cramping. High-fiber foods include whole grain breads and cereals, raw vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, popcorn, and fresh and dried fruit.
  • Avoid hot or very cold liquids, which can make diarrhea worse.
  • Avoid coffee, tea with caffeine, alcohol, and sweets. Stay away from fried, greasy, or highly spiced foods, too. They are irritating and can cause diarrhea and cramping.
  • Avoid milk and milk products, including ice cream, if they make your diarrhea worse.

Constipation

Some anticancer medicines, pain medicines, and other medicines can cause constipation. It can also occur if you are less active or if your diet lacks enough fluid or fiber. If you have not had a bowel movement for more than a day or two, call your doctor, who may suggest taking a laxative or stool softener. Do not take these measures without checking with your doctor, especially if your white blood cell count or platelets are low.

What can I do about constipation?

  • Drink plenty of fluids to help loosen the bowels. If you do not have mouth sores, try warm and hot fluids, including water, which work especially well.
  • Check with your doctor to see if you can increase the fiber in your diet (there are certain kinds of cancer and certain side effects you may have for which a high-fiber diet is not recommended). High fiber foods include bran, whole-wheat breads and cereals, raw or cooked vegetables, fresh and dried fruit, nuts, and popcorn.
  • Get some exercise every day. Go for a walk or you may want to try a more structured exercise program. Talk to your doctor about the amount and type of exercise that is right for you.

 

 

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This website is sponsored by Brad Cooper* of The Cooper, Hart, Leggiero, & Whitehead, PLLC. Cooper, Hart, Leggiero, & Whitehead is located in The Woodlands, Texas (Greater Houston Area) and can be reached toll free at 1-800-998-9729 for more information on mesothelioma. Brad Cooper is not a medical doctor. The information on these pages is for the education of mesothelioma patients and their families regarding potential medical and legal options. Patients are advised to consult with a medical doctor.

*  Licensed by the Supreme Court  of Texas.

 

 

 

The use of chemotherapy in patients with advanced malignant pleural mesothelioma: a clinical practice guideline.

Advances in the systemic therapy of malignant pleural mesothelioma

Kinase Inhibitors for Mesothelioma Treatment

journal abstracts

Active symptom control with or without chemotherapy in the treatment of patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma (MS01): a multicentre randomised trial

The second wave in kinase cancer drugs

Cisplatin and vinorelbine first-line chemotherapy in non-resectable malignant pleural mesothelioma


Cytoreductive surgery and intraperitoneal chemotherapy for peritoneal mesothelioma.