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What common oral problems should I watch for if I have lung cancer?

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  • When you get treated for cancer in your lungs or elsewhere in your body, you might have: Mouth sores. These can appear on the lining of your mouth and throat. They can make it hard to eat and drink. Dry mouth. This can make it hard to swallow and make you more likely to get infections and cavities. Bleeding or sensitive gums. Your doctor or dentist may call this gingivitis.
  • Aches and pains in and around your jaw. Changes in the way food tastes. You might have less of an appetite, too, which can impact your ability to get enough healthy food.
  • New cavities. Infections in your mouth.

If you notice any of these things, tell your doctor, a nurse, or another member of your cancer care team. Although some of these side effects can be normal, they can sometimes be a sign that your treatment plan needs to change.

SOURCES:

American Cancer Society: "Chemotherapy"'; "A Guide to Radiation Therapy."

CDC: “Smoking, Gum Disease, and Tooth Loss.”

CancerCare/LungCancer.org: "The Importance of Dental Care"; "Managing Oral Mucositis."

National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research: "Oral Complications of Cancer Treatment."

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute: "Mouth Care for Cancer Patients."

Reviewed by Michael Friedman on August 23, 2018

SOURCES:

American Cancer Society: "Chemotherapy"'; "A Guide to Radiation Therapy."

CDC: “Smoking, Gum Disease, and Tooth Loss.”

CancerCare/LungCancer.org: "The Importance of Dental Care"; "Managing Oral Mucositis."

National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research: "Oral Complications of Cancer Treatment."

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute: "Mouth Care for Cancer Patients."

Reviewed by Michael Friedman on August 23, 2018

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Should I get a dental checkup before I start lung cancer treatment?

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