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Health SA Gesondheid (Online)

On-line version ISSN 2071-9736
Print version ISSN 1025-9848

Abstract

MAREE, Johanna E. et al. Incidence, severity and management of cancer chemotherapy related oral mucositis in Eastern Cape and Western Cape. Health SA Gesondheid (Online) [online]. 2012, vol.17, n.1, pp.1-7. ISSN 2071-9736.

This study explored the incidence, duration and severity of oral mucositis in patients receiving chemotherapy in the Eastern and Western Cape, how this symptom was managed and whether the patients considered the management to be effective. An exploratory, contextual, quantitative survey was conducted. The sampling method was convenience. One hundred and sixty patients were recruited, with 106, (66.3%) participating. Data were collected by means of self-reports, using a self-administered questionnaire. Oral mucositis was a common problem, with 71.7% (n = 76) reporting to have had mucositis. Pain was not effectively managed, as 69.8% (n = 53) of respondents experienced pain whilst only 17.1% (n = 13) reported to have used analgesics. More than half of the respondents used prescribed mouth and throat preparations, whilst 28.9% (n = 22) used non-prescribed self-care measures including potentially harmful products. A significant difference was found between using non-prescribed self-care measures and the duration of oral mucositis (χ2 = 0.81; p = 0.01). The reported grade of mucositis did not influence the use of non-prescribed self-care measures, whilst the more pain patients experienced the less inclined they were to use these measures. The management of oral mucositis remains a challenge. Failure to palliate this distressing symptom can lead to the use of potentially harmful self-care measures.

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