The Timings of the Radiation Treatment Have an Effect on Oral Mucositis for Sufferers of Head & Neck Cancer

Oral mucositis is a common and troublesome side effect of head/neck radiation. The research team looked for patterns between treatment timing, mucositis severity. Adjusting the timing of radiation treatments may have significant clinical benefit. Amongst the most bothersome side effects of radiation of head or neck is ‘Oral Mucositis’ which is basically getting painful sores in the throat and mouth area. This condition aggravates issues like struggling to swallow or eat and disturbed sleep. Commonly, for pain control, analgesics or opioids are prescribed.

This year, at the annual meeting of American Association for Cancer Research, new research will be presented which reports that managing radiation treatments before noon rather than at daytime can reduce the extremity of mucositis & the impacts associated with it, significantly.

Anurag Singh, Roswell Park’s director Radiation Research, stated: “Acute oral mucositis is not only extremely painful for patients, it also interferes with their care and recovery in a number of ways, from impaired nutritional intake and treatment delays to higher chance of infection, hospitalization, and use of opioids, which comes with a host of additional side effects and risks. And while these factors double the costs of supportive care in comparison to milder cases, the few prevention and treatment options available for this condition have limited efficacy and/or supporting evidence.”

He shed further light on the subject by saying: “We found that the severity of oral mucositis increased as the time at which radiation treatments were administered got later, peaking at early afternoon. Our findings highlight a simple and easily implementable solution for reducing severe oral mucositis in head and neck cancer patients, and one that may have significant clinical and quality-of-life benefits for patients.”

The authors of this study believe that it’s the first research which found out by treatment timing, a variation of the severity of oral mucositis. Assistant Professor, Fangyi Gu said: “Identifying an optimal time of a day for radiotherapy may substantially prevent severe oral mucositis in head and neck cancer patients. Further studies are worthwhile to confirm our findings, and to find optimal treatment times for individual patients.”