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Sores in Throat and Mouth from Chemo

Posts: 2
Joined: Apr 2007

Hello, My grandmother was just diagnosed with rectal cancer about a month ago. Her treatment so far has consisted of 5FU and Leucovorin for 5 days, Radiation for 6 wks, and then another 5 days of the chemo. She has gotten these terrible sores in her mouth and throat and is unable to eat or hardly drink anything. Dr. has prescribed Magic Mouthwash but it's not helping. Does anyone have any suggestions?? Please let me know we will try anything

Posts: 1961
Joined: Aug 2003

When I had mouth sores with chemo, my oncologist gave me a cream which had some steroid. I used it for just a few days (each cycle) and it really helped. Maybe you cd ask the doc for something similar? But I'm not sure how this cd help throat sores. In the meantime, I hope you/she can brainstorm to find something anything that she can eat/drink. Bland and room temp helped me....maybe one of those high-cal nutrition drinks -- at least till she gets some relief from the sores. I'm having some mouth sores myself at the moment -- not too bad yet but I'm certainly sympathetic....Best wishes.
ps I also had rectal cancer -- presurgical chemo radiation -- sounds like a similar treatment to your grandmother.

Posts: 304
Joined: Dec 2005

I am a caregiver and dental hygienist so the moment my husband was diagnosed (Stage IV - 10/04) I started him on Prevident 5000 Booster (a prescription Colgate fluoride toothpaste) and all the Biotene products (mouthwash, gum, saliva substitute "Oral Balance", and toothpaste). These products can be used by anyone at anytime because they are great preventitive treatments to keep your mouth healthy before any problem can even start.

When you are going through all the aspects of chemo and/or radiation - the last thing you need to deal with is a gum or tooth problem. These products help to replace the naturally occuring antibacterial enzymes in your saliva that you have lost and then you can fight off oral irritations, canker sores, ulcers and gum infections. Even if you are not undergoing any treatment, many of the medications you might be taking can also cause dry mouth(xerostomia) - so these products can also help prevent the effects of dry mouth (poor healing,sensitivity gums and teeth, dryness, itching, burning.

Dry mouth and radiation can also cause your teeth to decay very easily. The Prevident 5000 Booster toothpaste helps to remineralize your teeth and make them more resistant to decay.

My husband has undergone 7 1/2 months of Avastin, 5 FU, leucovorin, and irinotecan and that was followed 4 months later with 15 months and counting of weekly erbitux and irinotecan. He has had side effects to deal with, but thankfully he has never had any mouth problems. I trully believe in both products....I recommend all of the biotene products and Prevident 5000 for all of my patients with a dry mouth and anyone undergoing any cancer treatment.

If your mouth is healthy it makes everything else you must endure a little bit easier. If you have any other "mouth" questions- I will be happy to help you.

Good luck - I hope this helps!

drmrgirl47's picture
Posts: 129
Joined: Mar 2004

I also had rectal cancer and after 5 months of chemo wound up in the hospital with an
abdominal blockage and absolutely horrendous mouth sores. I remember it hurt to just breath air and when the pain in my mouth hurt so bad they would give me a shot of a pain killer. Anyway, I also used the magic mouthwash and another product called GelClair. But what helped me most was when the hospital gave me some lidacaine. I used to rub this inside my mouth and it gave me such relief and helped. I remember taking it home with me. Ask the doctor about this. It was kind of like a gel. Eventually the sores will go away. Good luck.

Monicaemilia's picture
Posts: 455
Joined: Nov 2006

Hi: I have a very simple solution that really works for me, popsicle right after the infusion. This is regular protocol at my hospital, and the only time I did have sores was when I forgot to eat my popsicle. I also rinse with salt and water daily. Monica

Posts: 2
Joined: Apr 2007

I just wanted to thank everyone for all the helpful info. We went back to doc today and they gave her two bags of fluids. He wanted to put her in the hospital, but she wouldn't have it. Then they suggested having home health come over the weekend to give her fluids, but she also refused that. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers that she will get better. Again thanks for everything.

Posts: 4
Joined: Feb 2007

It looks like you already have competent advise but I will pass on what worked for me. My dentist gave me Peridex to use at night- it tends to stain your teeth if you use it a lot - however it comes off. And He also warned me that I would not like the taste, however I did not notice. One thing that seemed to work well for the mouth sores was Ora5 - from McHenry Labs in Texas. You dab the sores with this stuff it lasts all day, and you can forget them. Hope this helps.


vinny3's picture
Posts: 933
Joined: Jun 2006

I developed mouth sores with the initial 5-FU also. My onc reduced the dose as she said otherwise I would end up in the hospital. Perhaps your grandmother needs a dose reduction. I tried the Magic Mouthwash too but just found it to be a little helpful.


Posts: 1
Joined: Jul 2006

I found an all natural mouth foam that really helped heal mouth sores. They are using it often with head and neck radiation patients http://www.cuprident.com/oncol.php I highly recommend it.. I know that at U of L's cancer treatment center they have been able to prevent some patients from having ot have feeding tubes because of it.

Good luck!

chrisdee's picture
Posts: 3
Joined: Apr 2007

i ended back in the hospital with taht stuff. they finally cut my 5fu down to half so the mouth stuff was managable. that was 5 years ago and i'm on chemo for the 4th time and still kicking.chris

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