Mucositis is an inflammation and ulceration of the mucous membranes along the digestive tract. Mucositis can occur anywhere along the gastrointestinal tract, but oral mucositis refers to the particular inflammation and ulceration that occurs inside the mouth.
Mucositis is a common side effect of chemo and radio therapy used in cancer treatment.
About 10% of patients treated with chemotherapy get mucositis. But the rate can get to 20% with Irinotecan or even 50% with fluorouracil.
Radiotherapy, especially on head, neck or abdomen, can cause mucositis in more than 50% patients, and up to 70% in case of fractionated radiation dosage or total body irradiation.
Oral mucositis is the most common of the mucositis, and also the most painful and debilitating. Patients can often hardly eat or drink, speak, and the effects can last for a long period after the treatment ends.
Oral mucositis is also known as being a limitating factor of the chemo treatments.
Mucositis generally appears in the week following the treatment