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Supportive Care

Potential Benefits of Oral Cryotherapy for Chemotherapy-Induced Mucositis

Amelia Wodzinski
CJON 2016, 20(5), 462-465 DOI: 10.1188/16.CJON.462-465

Mucositis is a common side effect of cancer therapies that causes painful, erythematous lesions to develop in the gastrointestinal tract. These lesions can lead to malnutrition, increased risk for serious infection, prolonged hospital stays, and reduced quality of life. Oral cryotherapy, or the use of ice chips to cool the mucous membranes during bolus chemotherapy infusions (e.g., 5-fluorouracil [Adrucil®] and melphalan [Alkeran®]), is the most readily accessible and cost-effective intervention available. Although many factors may contribute to the development of mucositis during cancer treatment, studies have found a reduction in the incidence and the severity of mucositis with the use of oral cryotherapy.

At a Glance

  • Chemotherapy-induced mucositis often occurs following most standard doses of chemotherapy.
  • Current mucositis prevention techniques vary in cost, effectiveness, and accessibility.
  • Oral cryotherapy is a low-cost, low-risk intervention that has been shown to reduce the severity of chemotherapy-induced mucositis.

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