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Childhood Cancer Therapy
 and the Head, Neck and Mouth

Childhood cancer therapies including chemotherapy, head and neck radiation treatment, and stem cell transplants are associated with oral side effects.


How does chemotherapy affect a child's oral health?

Chemotherapy is associated with oral side effects including:


How does head and neck radiation therapy affect a child's oral health?

Head and neck radiation therapy is associated with oral and dental side effects including:

  • Mouth sores (mucositis)

  • Altered taste

  • Dry mouth

  • Oral infections

  • Painful gums and painful mouth

  • Dental and craniofacial developmental changes or delays

  • Osteoradionecrosis of the jaw 


Why visiting a oral oncologist before starting cancer therapy is important:

Eliminating any sources of infection and ensuring that your child's mouth is healthy may help prevent or reduce the oral, head and neck side effects associated with his/her/their oncologic therapeutic regimen.


When should your child visit a dental oncologist if he/she/they is receiving cancer therapy?

Ideally, the optimal time for your child to visit a dental oncologist is before he/she/they begins cancer therapy. Nonetheless, it is never too late to visit Dr. Levi. If your child is currently undergoing chemotherapy or head and neck radiation treatment and has not recently been examined by a dental oncologist, it is recommended that you schedule an appointment for your child.


What will occur at the initial visit with Dr. Levi?

Dr. Levi will perform a comprehensive head and neck evaluation. She will review with you and your child any necessary procedures that your child may need to be performed prior commencing cancer therapy. She will speak with your child's oncology team about his/her/their cancer treatment schedule to discuss his/her/their treatment needs as well as the ideal time to perform it.

For more about childhood cancer therapy related oral side effects, visit Dr. Levi's blog post on how much do you know about going gold?


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