Nutrition Management of Patients With Neoplastic Disease of the Head and Neck Treated With Radiation Therapy


Neoplastic lesions of the head and neck are primarily squamous cell carcinomas of the aerodigestive tract mucosa. Approximately 43,000 new cases of head and neck cancer (8.5% of all malignancies) are diagnosed in the United States each year. Tumors, with a male predominance at age 50 to 60 years, generally occur on the surface of the mucosal lining of the oral cavity, oropharynx, nasopharynx, larynx, maxillary sinus, salivary glands, and the thyroid gland. Tobacco, alcohol, and the combination of tobacco and alcohol are the principle causative agents of head and neck neoplasms. The use of these carcinogenic agents often has a negative impact on lifestyle, and it is not unusual for significant nutritional deficiencies to exist in this population before diagnosis of head and neck cancer. Definitive and adjuvant cancer treatment modalities are rigorous, and sequelae associated with the therapy often further impair nutritional status and increase morbidity. Auspicious nutrition assessment and management before the initiation of therapy can have a significant impact on the course of treatment and the patient's quality of life.


Biomedical Sciences

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Nutrition in clinical practice