Ice Chips May Be The Easiset Way to Reduce Mucositis From Cancer Treatment

A new study in the April 2019 issue of JNCCN—Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network reports that oral cryotherapy reduce mucositis related side effects.

Ice chips or “cryotherapy” has long been used to reduce the intensity of mouth sores called mucositis that occur following treatment with stem cell transplant and certain chemotherapy drugs.

This current study enrolled 50 patients, half of which were provided with with ice chips to be chewed continuously during oxaliplatin chemotherapy infusions.  Patients were  encouraged to keep the ice chips in their mouths as long as possible.  The two groups were then directly compared.

At baseline, none of the patients in either group reported any ongoing oral symptoms. After the first treatment cycle, only 32% of cryotherapy patients  experienced oral symptoms, compared with 72% not chewing the ice chips. By the second cycle, the “oral cryotherapy” patients had significantly fewer oral symptoms, less difficulty eating or drinking cold items, and less difficulty eating or drinking overall than those in the control group.

Cryotherapy is a simple, safe, and effective strategy to reduce mucositis.


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