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Mouth Sores from Chemo

Posts: 4
Joined: May 2008

I am 55 and was diagnosed with Stage 3 C ovarian cancer a year and a half ago. They took everything they could in my abdominal cavity during 7 hours of surgery. I received the standard chemo combination once every three weeks for a total of 6. I thought I was doing well until my one year checkup where the doctor found a new tumor plus spots on my liver and else where. I am back in chemo. They are using Doxil this time. About 4 days after treatment I am totally wiped out for two days and they gradually get stronger again. Because Doxil makes skin sensitive to sunlight I wear sunscream most of the time and have had no major skin problems.

Mouth sores are uncomfortable problem. After the first couple of treatments I had a sore tongue and that was about it. Mouth sores developed later and have increasingly worsened. I have multiple canker sores and a sore tongue. The doctor said there is very little he can do about my mouth pain. I am using mouth wash and some over the counter numbing medicine. Neither of those things helps for very long. Does anyone have any suggestions to ease my mouth pain? I would be very appreciative of any suggestions anyone has. Thank you

We did get good news at my last checkup. A scan showed the tumor and spots on my liver and elsewhere have decreased in size. They are continuing the Doxil for at least another 3 months.

In peace, Zenkitty

Posts: 1995
Joined: May 2003

Great news on your recent tests! I am 53 and had complete hysterectomy, omentum and lymph node removal AND chemo in 2000. Had a recurrance in 2006 - more surgery and chemo. As of today there is NED - NO EVIDENCE OF DISEASE. I am currently waiting for my CA125 results for this month.

Well, mouth sores - I remember them well. My mouth and tongue were horrible from the Carbo/Taxol. The second time was worse. I believe I have lost most of my taste buds due to this and to this day I do not have much of a sense of taste. Anyway, I used Zilactin and Orabase for the sores. The Zilactin will sting when you put it on, but only for a few seconds. It coats the sore so you can at least eat and drink in peace. Using a straw to drink helps a lot. The Orabase I used at night, because it also helps to heal the sores.

I tried mouth rinses, such as peroxide based, but it made it worse, much worse. All the stuff in the rinses, including alcohol, just irritate things more. As for my tongue, it always felt swolen and looked like a road map - pitted, spotted, etc. The only thing I found to be helpful was to have ice-based beverages. I bought a snow cone machine and let the ice chips just melt in my mouth. There were some days that's all I did was have ice constantly in my mouth. I suppose there's a fine line where that could make it worse, but for me it was soothing, plus I got some fluids in me too. Sometimes, I would freeze juices (no citrus juice - it made it worse), or even ice tea or S.F. Koolaid and use that in the snow cone machine. It really helped me.

I also know that if your sores are intolerable, you can call your dentist and maybe they can use the silver nitrate on them. That will also coat them and help to heal. I'd give them a call first to see if that would work for you.

I hope all of this helps. I am so glad that the Doxil is working for you. Please keep us up-to-date and let us know how you are doing. Until then, sending hugs and prayers to you!


saundra's picture
Posts: 1390
Joined: Mar 2007

My oncology nurse told me to take over the counter L-Lysine for mouth sores and I have every day since. I have not had any as of 19 doses of chemo. I also take Vit. B-6 and L-glutamin for neuropathy and have had minimal numbness in my feet and hands. This is in addition to multivitamin/mineral supplement I take daily. My peridontist(gum dentist) told me if I got mouth sores to come see him and he would treat them but I have not had to. Hope this helps you. (((Hugs and Prayers))) Saundra

Posts: 318
Joined: Feb 2008

I took what they call miracle mouthwash and it relieved pain and sores, maybe thats what the L-lysine is? I don't have them with the carbo platnum but did with taxol and taxitiere. Hope all have a good day.
Sandy Green

saundra's picture
Posts: 1390
Joined: Mar 2007

It's on over the counter vitamin....it's an essential amino acid.

Posts: 1
Joined: Sep 2008

Last fall when i developed nasty mouth sores after receiving Doxil, i finally got so frustrated with all the rinses, washes, etc. that did little to help, i tried taking Valtrex (I have a PRN scrip for cold sores) and it was like a miracle - the mouth sores which i'd been dealing with for weeks to no avail cleared up within 2 - 3 days. my oncologist said he'd never heard of anyone using Valtrex, but said "go for it" if it works. Good luck to all who are dealing with this nasty side effect....
gentle day to all, Johanna

BonnieR's picture
Posts: 1549
Joined: Jan 2004

This is a problem for so many and lots of different answers. I know when they are worse than worse the magic mouth wash really helps. This last year I started using L-Lysine for my neuropathy and immune system and to my surprise later learned it is for canker sores too so it helped with the mouth sores. Salt/soda rinses before they get bad really helps also.

But if really bad ask your dr or chemo nurse to subscribe the magic mouth wash, clears them up the fastest. hugs bonnie

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