oral care

Cancer care during head and neck radiation therapy

IMRT is short for Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy. The intensity of the radiation in IMRT can be changed during treatment to spare more adjoining normal tissue than is spared during conventional radiation. Subsequently, an increased dose of radiation can be delivered to the tumor using IMRT. IMRT is a type of conformal radiation, which shapes radiation beams to closely approximate the shape of the tumor.

Honey for oral mucositis

Honey is made by bees. Bees collect nectar, and carry it back to the hive. They regurgitate the nectar into the  cells of the honeycomb. They beat their wings to dry the nectar and excrete saliva into it. Their saliva contains enzymes that alter the nectar. Ultimately, what results is honey which possesses antibacterial properties - meaning that bacteria cannot survive in it. 

The question for cancer patients is: Does honey help against oral mucositis? I'll try to compile some relevant links to build a case for that.

L-Glutamine for oral mucositis

Radiation-induced mucositis is a normal accompaniment of radical radiotherapy to the head and neck area. Normally, the oral mucosa has a relatively high cell-turnover rate. Exposure to ionising radiation leads to mucosal erythema, small whitish patches and ultimately results in confluent mucositis. Mucositis is a result of imbalance between cell loss and cell proliferation. The intensity of mucositis can be aggravated by chemo and/or radiation.

Oral mucositis

Mucositis occurs when cancer treatments destroy rapidly dividing epithelial cells lining the gastro-intestinal (GI) tract. This is especially worse in the oral cavity, leaving mucosal tissue subject to ulceration and infection. Mucositis can happen anywhere along the digestive tract from the mouth to the anus. Mucositis can be further complicated by vomiting and nausea. Chemo and radiation affect the mucosal cell reproduction, leading to a slowed healing of the oral mucosa. This then leads to an increased chance of opportunistic mouth infection.

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