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Keywords:

  • chemoradiation;
  • dropout;
  • dysphagia;
  • generalized linear models;
  • head and neck cancer

Abstract

Background.

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.

Methods:

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.

Results.

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.

Conclusions.

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