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Evidence-Based Interventions for Cancer Treatment-Related Mucositis: Putting Evidence Into Practice

June Eilers
Debra Harris
Karen Henry
Lee Ann Johnson
CJON 2014, 18(6), 80-96 DOI: 10.1188/14.CJON.S3.80-96

Mucositis is an inflammatory process that can involve the mucosal epithelial cells from the mouth to the rectum. Historically, mucositis and stomatitis were used interchangeably, but momentum has increased toward more specific terminology since the 2000s. Stomatitis refers to inflammatory diseases of the mouth, including the mucosa, dentition, periapices, and periodontium, whereas mucositis refers more globally to an inflammatory process involving the mucous membranes of the oral cavity and the gastrointestinal tract. In addition, differentiation is needed regarding mucositis involving the oral cavity and the remainder of the gastrointestinal tract that require use of a scope-type device for close examination. As a result, oral cavity mucositis has been the focus of the majority of the studies reported to date. The mucous membranes beyond the oral cavity are more challenging to view, so the mouth has been presented as revealing potential changes in the gastrointestinal tract. However, because of the variation in morphology, function of different locations, and risks associated with procedures to validate that speculation, evidence is limited. The purpose of this article is to review evidence-based interventions for mucositis, particularly in the oral cavity, and provide clinicians with guidelines for nursing interventions.

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