The True Cost of Chemo-Induced Oral Mucositis
Are You Among the 80%* of Chemo Patients At Risk for Debilitating Mouth Sores & Up To $42,000* in Hospital Bills?
The Odds of Getting Chemo Mouth Sores (Oral Mucositis)
It may not be as well-known as some of chemo’s side effects – hair loss or nausea, for example – but oral mucositis is easily one of the most debilitating conditions to afflict chemo patients. As many as 40% of those undergoing chemotherapy will see some form of mucositis, though the odds can be much higher for those receiving treatment to the head, neck, or chest; for patients going through high-dose chemo, the chances of developing oral mucositis are close to 80%*.
The true burden of mucositis comes from its ability to affect all aspects of a patient’s recovery. Not only is this ailment quite painful, but it can also make eating and drinking difficult (or even impossible), leading to dehydration and malnutrition in many patients. The sores that appear also increase a patient’s risk of infection – a serious concern in those whose immune systems have been ravaged by chemo drugs – and the economic impact of mucositis can be just as severe, with some patients seeing tens of thousands of dollars in additional medical costs thanks to this one condition.
If you or someone you know is getting ready to begin chemotherapy treatments, know that help may be possible in the form of the Chemo Mouthpiece™. To learn more about how this effective, easy-to-use medical device can save you thousands, visit us online or call (866) 461-7518 today.
The Price of Mucositis Symptoms
The medical expenses that accompany cancer can be overwhelming, and the additional costs that come with oral mucositis only add to patients’ economic woes. In one study, an increase in the severity of mucositis symptoms was linked to significant health risks and more extensive treatments; just a single-point bump on the Oral Mucositis Assessment Scale (OMAS) can lead to an average of one extra day of fever, 2.7 more days of IV nutrition, 2.6 more days of narcotic painkillers and general hospitalization, more than double the risk of serious infection, and an almost four-fold increase in a patient’s 100-day mortality risk.
... the study concluded that the hospital bills of a patient with oral mucositis were an average of $42,000 greater than for those who were spared this chemo side effect.
Combined, these myriad of complications can require treatments adding up to tens of thousands of dollars in additional medical bills. That one-point increase in a patient’s OMAS scale cost patients in the study as much as $25,000 that they might not have otherwise had to pay; the study then concluded that the hospital bills of a patient with oral mucositis were an average of $42,000 greater than for those who were spared this chemo side effect.
The Physical Toll of Oral Mucositis
Though mouth sores are the predominant sign of oral mucositis, this condition can have wide-ranging effects on a patient’s overall health and quality of life. In more severe cases, the sores that appear can change a patient’s sense of taste, cause persistent dry mouth or a thickening of the saliva, or make chewing and swallowing incredibly painful, leading many patients to avoid the foods and beverages their bodies need to keep up their strength. This reluctance to eat can mean slower healing, lower energy levels, unwanted weight loss, and even delays in chemo treatments.
The presence of open sores in the mouth also represents a significant threat to the immune system, as each sore is a potential avenue for infection. Because the body’s immune system is so often compromised by radiation and chemotherapy, an infection anywhere in the body – including the mouth – can prove life-threatening. Patients with oral mucositis must observe meticulous oral hygiene practices to keep their sores clean and clear of debris, despite the intense discomfort these procedures may cause.
Fighting Chemo-Induced Mouth Sores
While no treatment has shown the ability to completely prevent oral mucositis, one notable option has proven effective for many patients looking to limit the severity of their symptoms: cryotherapy. By applying freezing temperatures to the soft tissues lining the mouth, the blood vessels in that area are forced to shrink, which makes it harder for the toxic chemo drugs to reach those vulnerable areas; it’s similar to closing lanes on a busy highway.
To cause this effect – called vasoconstriction – most treatment centers will distribute ice chips or popsicles for patients to suck on as their medication is administered. Of course, this method has some obvious limitations: Ice chips tend to sit in the mouth, cooling only a small area before melting away, and popsicles aren’t much better. By comparison, the Chemo Mouthpiece™ can effortlessly chill the entire oral cavity by as much as 30°F over the course of half an hour, making it a significantly more potent cryotherapy option.
Save Thousands of Dollars and Months of Pain with the Chemo Mouthpiece™
For those about to begin chemotherapy, the Chemo Mouthpiece™ can be an invaluable tool for reducing the severity of oral mucositis symptoms, saving patients significant money and pain along the way. If you or someone you know is at risk of developing chemo-induced mouth sores, know that you can fight this debilitating condition. Learn more by visiting the Chemo Mouthpiece™ website or calling (866) 461-7518 right away.