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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 15-21

Management of oral complications in irradiated head and neck cancer patients: Literature review

Department of Surgery, Aga Khan University, Aaga Khan University Hospital, Karachi, Pakistan

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Muhammad Hasan Hameed
Department of Surgery, Aga Khan University, Aaga Khan University Hospital, Karachi
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijssr.ijssr_6_18

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The incidence of head and neck cancer is increasing and it is regarded as one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality. The treatment of head and neck carcinoma is very challenging and depends on the stage of the disease. Radiotherapy is largely employed as primary therapy, adjuvant to surgery, or in combination with chemotherapy for the treatment of head and neck carcinomas. Patients undergoing radiotherapy are prone to a range of short- and long-term complications which adversely affects their health and quality of life. Management of these complications is complex and based on early detection, prevention, and oral care before, during, and after the treatment, to establish the best oral care pathway for these patients. Dental management of these patients is especially important to maintain oral hygiene, overall health, and nutrition status. Management involves multidisciplinary team approach which includes dental practitioners and the oncology team not only in the primary treatment but also in the long-term care and maintenance. It is, therefore, essential for clinicians involved in cancer treatment and cancer survivors to be aware of prevention and management these complications. The aim of this review is to highlight importance of postoperative complications associated with radiotherapy and to draw attention of multidisciplinary teams involved in cancer management toward dental needs of patients treated with radiation therapy, to ensure good quality care and better quality of life in irradiated head and neck cancer patients.

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