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Oncology Essentials

Integrating Oral Health Throughout Cancer Care

Erin Hartnett
CJON 2015, 19(5), 615-619 DOI: 10.1188/15.CJON.615-619

Oral health is often not a priority during cancer treatment; however, patients with cancer are at increased risk for oral complications during and after treatment. This article focuses on the importance of oral health care before, during, and after cancer treatment using the head, eyes, ears, nose, oral cavity, and throat, or HEENOT, approach.

At a Glance

  • Oral health is linked to overall health, and healthcare providers must be cognizant of the oral-systemic connection with patients undergoing cancer treatment, which may cause acute and chronic oral health problems. 

  • Oral assessment, prevention, early recognition, and treatment of oral problems must be incorporated into cancer care, particularly with the aid of an interprofessional team to meet patients’ oral care needs. 

  • The head, eyes, ears, nose, oral cavity, and throat, or HEENOT, approach integrates oral care into patients’ history taking, physical examination, and plan of cancer care.


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