Chemotherapy is difficult for any child, but when it causes mucositis, a painful side effect that causes ulcers to form in the mouth, it gets even harder. These children often require more pain medications and longer hospital stays.
Ben Wilson, 11, of Dilliner, Pa., was one of those patients. He was diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma. The chemotherapy regimen he was on was known to cause mucositis, but it was his best course of treatment. When he developed mucositis, his mother, Alison Wilson, talked to Dr. Hannah Hazard-Jenkins, director of the WVU Cancer Institute, about the trouble Ben was having with sores in his mouth and how difficult it was to maintain a lengthy mouthwash regimen to try to treat them.
“We tried some preventive treatments, including cold therapy, where you have them eat a lot of ice and do a series of seven mouthwashes, ” Alison Wilson said. “The cold therapy didn’t help much. Plus, it’s hard to use seven mouthwashes in a day, especially if you’re a kid, and they don’t taste very good.”