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Definition of Mucositis

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Mucositis: Inflammation of the mucous membranes lining the digestive tract from the mouth to the anus. Mucositis is a common side effect of chemotherapy and of radiotherapy that involves any part of the digestive tract. Mucositis affects the rapidly dividing mucosal cells that line the mouth, throat, stomach, and intestines, which normally have a short lifespan. If a therapy destroys these cells, they may not be replaced right away, in which case mucositis results. A person with mucositis may have raw sores (ulcers) in the mouth and throat and feel like he or she has a sunburn in the throat.

Reviewed on 12/11/2018

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