“Oral mucositis causes significant discomfort and pain in many patients, and may delay or interrupt cancer treatment,” said David J. Drutz, MD, DARA BioSciences' chief executive officer and chief medical officer.
“We designed this application to be a resource for patients and their care givers to help them manage and hopefully improve symptoms of oral mucositis.”
It is estimated there are more than 50,000 Americans diagnosed with head and neck cancer each year, and research shows that up to 100% of patients who receive radiotherapy for head and neck cancers develop oral mucositis.
Additionally, oral mucositis develops in 30% to 75% of patients who receive chemotherapy for any kind of cancer. Oral mucositis is diagnosed in approximately 400,000 patients in the United States each year.
“The painful symptoms of oral mucositis, which often limit a patient’s ability to eat, drink and talk comfortably, have the potential to derail a prescribed course of radiation or chemotherapy,” said Elizabeth Feldman, DMD, MS, a maxillofacial prosthodontist and dental oncologist at UF Health Cancer Center-Orlando Health.
“Educating patients about proper oral hygiene techniques and treatment options for painful oral mucositis symptoms is vitally important to improve their care and wellbeing.”
Dr. Feldman consulted with DARA, an oncology supportive care pharmaceutical company dedicated to providing health-care professionals a synergistic portfolio of medicines to help cancer patients adhere to their therapy and manage side effects arising from their cancer treatment, in the development of the oral mucositis patient app.
According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides information, patient support, sponsorship of research and advocacy related to oral cancers, oral mucositis is considered the “most common, debilitating complication” of cancer treatments.
“That’s especially true of chemotherapy and radiation,” said Brian Hill, a Stage 4 oral cancer survivor and founder and executive director of the OCF.
“In addition to severe pain and nutritional problems as a result of the inability to eat, the severe open sores in the mucosa can increase the risk of infection.”
The release of Oral Mucositis Care follows the 15th annual recognition of April as Oral Cancer Awareness month, a national effort encouraging dental practices to offer free oral cancer screenings to people in their communities to help catch oral cancer in its earliest and most treatable stage.
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Organizations such as the Academy of General Dentistry, the American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, the American Academy of Oral Medicine, the American Academy of Periodontology, the American Association of Oral and Maxillofactial Surgeons, the American Dental Association, and the American Dental Hygienists’’ Association have joined OCF in supporting this important campaign.
In 2013, DARA BioSciences reintroduced Gelclair, an FDA-approved bioadherent oral rinse gel for treating the pain that accompanies oral mucositis. In clinical trials, Gelclair has been demonstrated to rapidly and effectively relieve pain.
To download the app, visit the iTunes Store or Google Play and search for “Oral Mucositis Care.” The app will also be available on www.Gelclair.com. For optimal performance, the latest software versions are recommended.
Accompanying the app announcement is the release of a list of Top 10 Oral Care Tips for Cancer Patients.
For more information, visit www.darabio.com.