All in the Timing: Hour of Radiation Treatments Can Affect Mucositis for Patients With Head/Neck Cancers

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All in the Timing: Hour of Radiation Treatments Can Affect Mucositis for Patients With Head/Neck Cancers

New research from Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center reports that timing of radiation treatments can significantly reduce severity of mucositis and its related impacts.

Painful sores in the mouth and throat are one of the most common adverse side effects caused by radiation therapy, which is a mainstay of treatment for most cancers of the head and neck. This condition, known as oral mucositis, frequently causes quality-of-life issues such as difficulty swallowing or eating and interrupted sleep, and  often necessitates prescription of opioids or other analgesics for pain control. New research from Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, to be presented at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting 2019 in Atlanta, reports that administering radiation treatments in the morning as opposed to later in the day can significantly reduce severity of mucositis and its related impacts.

“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,” says senior author Anurag Singh, MD, Professor of Oncology and Director of Radiation Research in Roswell Park’s Department of Radiation Medicine. “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.”

Hypothesizing that timing of radiation treatments could be impacting the severity of mucositis, the team studied patterns of oral mucositis in 190 head neck cancer patients treated at Roswell Park. They found a significant association between radiation treatment timing and oral mucositis severity in head and neck cancer patients.

Read on: All in the Timing: Hour of Radiation Treatments Can Affect Mucositis for Patients With Head/Neck Cancers

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