Clinical review of physical activity and functional considerations in head and neck cancer patients

Support Care Cancer. 2013 May;21(5):1475-9. doi: 10.1007/s00520-013-1736-4. Epub 2013 Feb 17.


Patients facing head and neck cancer treatment are profoundly vulnerable to physiologic and functional disability. Exercise and nutrition have been shown to have many benefits in cancer patients, but much of this work has been performed in groups of breast, colon, and prostate cancer patients. Limited data exists regarding the role of exercise and nutrition in the management of head and neck cancer patients given their unique set of challenges relating to the cancer as well as its treatment. In this paper, we review the existing literature about general or recreational physical exercise as well as nutrition in this patient population as it pertains to lean muscle body composition, functional well-being, and overall quality of life.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Body Composition / physiology
  • Exercise / physiology
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / pathology
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Nutrition Assessment
  • Nutritional Support / methods*
  • Quality of Life