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Oral Complications of Chemotherapy and Head/Neck Radiation (PDQ®)

  • Last Modified: 02/06/2014

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Oral Complications and Social Problems

The social problems related to oral complications can be the hardest problems for cancer patients to cope with. Oral complications affect eating and speaking and may make you unable or unwilling to take part in mealtimes or to dine out. Patients may become frustrated, withdrawn, or depressed, and they may avoid other people. Some drugs that are used to treat depression cannot be used because they can make oral complications worse. See the following PDQ summaries for more information:

Education, supportive care, and the treatment of symptoms are important for patients who have mouth problems that are related to cancer treatment. Patients are watched closely for pain, ability to cope, and response to treatment. Supportive care from health care providers and family can help the patient cope with cancer and its complications.