Eating ability in head and neck cancer patients after treatment with chemoradiation: A 12-month follow-up study accounting for dropout




Head and neck cancer patients treated with chemoradiation have difficulty eating a normal diet. This study was designed to characterize eating ability over 12 months after chemoradiation treatment. Analyses take patient dropout into account.


Two hundred fifty-five patients with head and neck cancer treated with chemoradiation were followed for 12 months. Eating ability was analyzed using generalized linear model methods that accounted for non-ignorable dropout.


Eating ability was compromised immediately after treatment and improved over 12 months to near pretreatment levels. Ability to eat at most 50% of the diet orally did not return to baseline levels (p < .05). However, the percent of patients eating a normal diet did return to baseline levels. Accounting for dropout modified the results, but the pattern of significance was similar.


Treatment of head and neck cancer with chemoradiation has a significant effect on eating ability, which improves after 12 months after treatment. © 2003 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Head Neck 25: 000–000, 2003