PURPOSE/OBJECTIVES: To review novel approaches to assessing and managing patients with cancer who are at risk for oral mucositis. DATA SOURCES: Published research and review articles, books, conference presentations, and abstracts. DATA SYNTHESIS: Oral mucositis is a major source of clinical morbidity among patients with cancer undergoing treatment, yet definitive management strategies continue to elude practitioners. A growing body of evidence suggests that a multifaceted, innovative, targeted approach to oral care provides an important foundation with which to reduce treatment-related morbidity. CONCLUSIONS: Ongoing assessment and monitoring are critical to the effective management of oral mucositis. Targeted interventions that incorporate the basic principles of wound care with current knowledge about the temporal aspects of clinical manifestations, evidence-based standardized approaches to assessment, and utilization of novel therapeutics provide an important means by which to improve patient outcomes. IMPLICATIONS FOR NURSING: Oral care protocols are essential components of oral mucositis management. Incorporating current knowledge of pathophysiology with a targeted, standardized approach may help to reduce overall morbidity and improve quality of life.
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