Have you previously undergone radiation for head and neck cancer and do you now experience a dry mouth (Xerostomia)?
Xerostomia is the most common complication in patients who has had radiation to the head and neck area for the treatment of cancer.
Salivary flow may continue to decline for up to several months after radiotherapy. Thereafter, some recovery is possible up to 12 to 18 months after radiotherapy depending on the radiation dose received by the salivary glands and the volume of salivary gland included in the irradiated fields. However, generally, xerostomia develops into an irreversible, life-long problem.
Are you willing to participate in a study to improve the salivary flow for treatment of Dry Mouth?
With the reduced saliva flow, it promotes accumulation of dental plaque and increases retention of food particles between teeth, promoting recurrent caries. Post-radiation, the saliva pH and buffer capacity is lowered, promoting the growth of fungus, Candida albicans, as well as accelerated tooth wear, dental erosion and infection.
A saliva test is an excellent way of being able to identify patients with this particular problem, and it provides the framework around which your management can be based.
Step 1: Saliva test is at the beginning of your treatment
Step 2: Saliva test after the course of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT)
Step 3: Saliva test at six weeks after the end of treatment of HBOT
Dr Ohnmar Aung, MB,BS, FANZCA, is the Principal Investigator for the Wesley Centre for Hyperbaric Medicine.
If you need more information, please contact us on 07 3371 6033.