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Oral care 

Oral care
Oral care

Andrew N. Davies

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date: 24 January 2022

Oral problems are common in patients with advanced cancer as well as in other groups of patients with life-limiting illnesses (and more generally in patients with chronic illness). Oral problems may be related to direct (‘anatomical’) effect of the primary disease, indirect (‘physiological’) effect of the primary disease, treatment of the primary disease, direct/indirect effect of a coexisting disease, treatment of the coexisting disease, or combinations of these factors. The successful management of oral problems involves adequate assessment, appropriate treatment, and adequate re-assessment. In some cases the most appropriate treatment for a patient with advanced cancer is the same treatment that would be given to a patient with early cancer (or no cancer). Thus, intensive treatment of the oral problem often results in the best palliation of the oral problem. It is not justified to withhold treatment on the grounds that the patient has advanced cancer; however, it may be justified to amend treatment (when appropriate).

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