An exploration of the use of photobiomodulation for management of oral mucositis in children and young people undergoing cancer treatment in the UK

Claudia Heggie, Kara A Gray-Burrows, Peter F Day, Bob Phillips

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PURPOSE: Oral mucositis affects up to 80% of children and young people (CYP) receiving chemotherapy. This can result in pain, reduced oral intake and, in severe cases, hospitalisation for parental nutrition and pain relief. Photobiomodulation is recommended by multiple bodies for mucositis management for those undergoing cancer treatments. The current use of photobiomodulation within the UK, and the barriers and facilitators to implementation is unknown.

METHOD: An online mixed-methods survey was administered to representatives from the Children's Cancer and Leukaemia Group (CCLG) between October 2021 and March 2022. This explored: use of photobiomodulation, planned future use, barriers and facilitators to implementation and dental assessment. Quantitative data underwent descriptive statistics. Barriers and facilitators to the implementation of photobiomodulation were analysed using the Theoretical Domains Framework (TDF).

RESULTS: All UK CCLG centres responded (n = 20, a response rate of 100%). Two units in Scotland were delivering photobiomodulation. A further four units were planning to implement a service. Most units, 65% (n = 13) utilised specialist Paediatric Dentistry services for dental assessment. In the TDF analysis, five domains were most frequently populated: knowledge, skills, environmental context and resources, social influences, and social/professional role and identity.

CONCLUSION: Photobiomodulation was only available in Scotland in two children's cancer units. Lack of knowledge and skills, and insufficient environmental resources were identified as barriers. Collaboration with paediatric dental services was identified as a facilitator. The establishment of a national network of Paediatric Dentists and Oncologists would promote collaboration to standardise protocols and to address the identified barriers to wider implementation of photobiomodulation.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
JournalSupportive care in cancer : official journal of the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer
Early online date9 Nov 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9 Nov 2022

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© 2022. The Author(s).

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