Oral mucositis & oral health related quality of life in women undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer in Karachi, Pakistan: A multicenter hospital based cross-sectional study

Document Type



Community Health Sciences; Radiation Oncology; Dental-oral, Maxillo-facial Surgery


Background: Oral mucositis is an inflammatory condition of oral cavity which is a common and serious side effect of cancer treatment. Severe oral mucositis compromises basic functions like eating and swallowing causing malnutrition also affecting overall patient's oral health related quality of life. The aim of the study was to find the frequency of oral mucositis in patients with breast cancer during their chemotherapy, the factors associated with oral mucositis & the overall patient's oral health related quality of life.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted and a total of 160 women diagnosed with breast cancer, receiving chemotherapy and who had undergone at least one cycle of chemotherapy were recruited from two hospital settings. In-person interviews were done, patients were asked questions about their sociodemographic history, personal habits, oral history and oral findings, breast cancer stage, chemotherapy history and Oral Health Related Quality of Life. Their oral examination was done at the end of the interview to assess presence or absence of oral mucositis, using World Health Organization oral mucositis tool. Oral Health Related Quality of Life was assessed using Oral Health Impact Profile-14 questionnaire.
Results: Our results showed that out of 160 patients 88 (55%) of the breast cancer cases developed oral mucositis during chemotherapy. The mean Oral Health Impact Profile -14 scores in patients with oral mucositis was high 18.36±0.96 showing poor Oral Health Related Quality of Life. Occasional frequency of brushing was significantly associated with oral mucositis (Prevalence ratio:2.26, 95%_CI 1.06-4.84) compared to those patients who brushed once and twice daily. Low level of education showed negative association with oral mucositis (Prevalence ratio:0.52, 95%_CI 0.31-0.88).
Conclusion: Our study showed significant positive association of occasional brushing with OM and protective association of low level of education with the development of OM. Emphasis should be given to oral hygiene instructions and dental education to cancer patients in oncology clinics with the prescription of mouth washes, gels and toothpaste to patients to decrease OM during chemotherapy


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