Hygienist starts company to provide resources for cancer patients

A dental hygienist recently created Side Effect Support LLC with the goal of providing oral health resources to patients who are battling cancer.

Apr 4th, 2013

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The home page for Side Effect Support.

A dental hygienist recently created Side Effect Support LLC with the goal of providing oral health resources to patients who are battling cancer.

The company, which is based in Manitowoc, Wis., offers professional education to medical and dental staffs. Informational articles are frequently posted on the company’s website along with additional resources.

The website also offers products for patients and professional organizations to combat painful, costly and potentially dangerous oral side effects associated with cancer treatments. For example, an oral care kit that sells for $10 combines dental home care products for a variety of manufacturers to simplify product selection for cancer patients.

Jill Meyer-Lippert, RDH, who is the owner of Side Effect Support LLC, said, “Oral health can play a major role in the comfort and quality-of-life of oncology patients, yet it is often an overlooked aspect of their care. Diseases and infections in the mouth can complicate, delay or affect the ability to complete treatments.”

Meyer-Lippert said health-care professionals are often uncertain about what to recommend to cancer patients.

“Many times, the oncology team is not aware of what products to recommend,” she said. Some modern oncology books still recommend the use of hard candies like Life Savers or lemon drops to stimulate saliva for xerostomia. Our local oncology department was actually dispensing lemon drops for patients to suck on during chemotherapy infusions until I intervened and explained the harm of frequent prolonged exposure to a sugary, acidic substance in a immunocompromised xerostomic patient. There simply is a huge disconnect between the oncology field and the dental field, and I have an ultimate goal to bridge this gap.”

She said the oral care kits were designed for the cancer patient’s convenience.

“Our Oral Care Bags were designed specifically for health-care offices and cancer-related organizations to provide information as well as product samples that patients could try before deciding whether or not to purchase on their own,” Meyer-Lippert said. “Our products section includes a small selection of items. We offer items such as extra soft compact toothbrushes to minimize trauma to delicate oral tissues and toothpaste without irritating ingredients like SLS that can actually promote mucositis. Our oral moisturizers contain xylitol to offer relief from xerostomia and prevent decay.

“I find many times, if an oncology patient is given any guidance on products to use or avoid, they often are not provided resources where to find such products.”

Information can be found at http://www.sideeffectsupport.com.

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