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OBJECTIVE: To compare the effectiveness of nutritional care between self-oral intake and enteral tube feeding (ETF) and/or total parenteral nutrition (TPN) on radiation treatment planning and nutritional status in head and neck cancer patients.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: This retrospective descriptive study was performed on head and neck cancer patients receiving radiation therapy at Wattanosoth Hospital between January 1, 2011 and December 31, 2011. Medical records and clinical data from the hospital’s database system were reviewed.
RESULTS: Among a total of 58 patients, 58.6% had self-oral intake while 41.4% received ETF and/or TPN. There was a difference in the effect of nutritional care on radiation treatment planning and nutritional status in head and neck cancer patients between the self-oral intake group and the ETF and/or TPN group. However, this difference was not statistically significant (p > 0.05).
CONCLUSION: In head and necks patients, curative radiation therapy or the concurrent chemotherapy can cause side effects including sore throat, mouth sores and nutritional deficiency. Although ETF and/or TPN should be considered, some patients may refuse these types of nutritional care. Medical personnel should consider the feelings of loss in body image of an individual patient, regularly assess the patient’s nutritional status and develop an appropriate nutritional plan for each patient.
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