Normalcy of food intake in patients with head and neck cancer supported by combined dietary counseling and swallowing therapy: A randomized clinical trial

Head Neck. 2016 Apr:38 Suppl 1:E198-206. doi: 10.1002/hed.23970. Epub 2015 Jun 16.


Background: Dysphagia resulting in altered food intake is common among patients with head and neck cancer. This randomized trial investigated the effect of combined individual dietary counseling with individualized swallowing therapy (intervention) compared to individual dietary counseling (control) on normalcy of food intake (NFI).

Methods: Patients with stage II to IV head and neck cancer treated with postoperative (chemo)radiation were randomly assigned to this study. NFI, dysphagia severity, social eating, and nutritional status were measured at the start of treatment and in weeks 6, 10, 18, and 30.

Results: One hundred twenty patients, 60 in each group, were recruited. No overall estimated difference was detected for NFI, dysphagia severity, social eating, or nutritional status. At week 10, the intervention group slightly improved dysphagia recovery 0.6 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.1-1.1). This difference diminished by week 30.

Conclusion: Adding individualized swallowing therapy to individual dietary counseling did not improve NFI but slightly accelerate swallowing recovery. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Head Neck 38: E198-E206, 2016.

Keywords: chemoradiation; dysphagia; head and neck neoplasms; normal food intake; radiotherapy.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Deglutition Disorders / rehabilitation*
  • Deglutition*
  • Eating*
  • Female
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / rehabilitation*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged