Proper Oral Care for Cancer Patients Reduces Infections

By Steve Blanchard – February 16, 2023 &#13

Some of the most at-chance patients for an infection are those who have had blood or marrow transplants or cellular immunotherapy. That’s why the nursing team at Moffitt Most cancers Center has taken preliminary measures to enable reduce  an infection with proper oral care.

According to Melanie Fyfe, a nurse in Moffitt’s Blood and Marrow Transplant and Mobile Immunotherapy Division, suitable and elevated oral care for this patient inhabitants is an important way to assistance lower chance of bacterial infections these as pneumonia and blood stream infections. She introduced exploration on these results Feb. 17 at the 2023 Tandem Meetings, the combined once-a-year conferences of the American Culture for Transplantation and Cellular Treatment and Middle for Worldwide Blood and Marrow Transplant Analysis.

In accordance to Fyfe, blood and marrow transplant and cellular immunotherapy individuals acquire higher doses of chemotherapy that lead to a decrease in blood counts, inserting them at a superior risk for an infection. Mucositis, an irritation of the gastrointestinal tract that starts orally with sores or irritations on the mouth or within of the mouth or throat, is a prevalent aspect result of remedy.

“It can be very unpleasant,” Fyfe explained. “Some sufferers who have seasoned it say it feels like they are swallowing glass. Individuals are offered medicines to assist with discomfort so that they can swallow because hydration and nourishment are important, but ulcerations require to continue to be thoroughly clean to decrease infection chance and lessen pain.”

Fyfe spelled out that when a affected person is initially consulted for a blood and marrow transplant or mobile immunotherapy technique, they are presented with information about how to greatest treatment for by themselves and how to avoid infection. Bundled in that details is how to conduct oral care and an accepted listing of oral hygiene goods that are American Dental Association advisable and nonalcoholic.

Moffitt up-to-date its oral care protocol for all individuals in the summer months of 2020 to meet ADA benchmarks for acute care clients, but it is distinctive than what you would do at household. Nurses are on a regular basis reminding sufferers of how to thoroughly care for their oral cleanliness, regardless of whether they are inpatient or outpatient.


“We discourage flossing for the reason that our sufferers have a high risk of bleeding.”

– Melanie Fyfe, BMT-CI nurse


“Some of our protocol is what you anticipate, brush in the early morning, soon after meals and prior to you go to bed,”  Fyfe claimed. “We discourage flossing since our patients have a significant possibility of bleeding.”

Applying mouth rinses and mouth/lip moisturizers are also section of the protocol and can greatly enhance individual convenience.

Patients are inspired to brush and rinse their mouth at minimum four times a day and even far more generally if they are vomiting or have mucositis. Individual training handouts, ADA permitted product handouts and mirror oral care reminder checklists are just some of the interventions made use of to raise oral treatment.

Fyfe mentioned the new protocols on oral cleanliness have lowered bacterial infections in clients. It’s her hope that the practice will be executed throughout all wellness care services to aid all patient populations, not just those people in blood and marrow transplant and mobile immunotherapy.

“Our purpose is to display how this evidence-primarily based practice decreases bacterial infections and share the expertise we’ve acquired,” Fyfe said.