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Keywords:

  • malnutrition;
  • symptoms;
  • weight loss;
  • cancer;
  • patient-generated subjective global assessment

Abstract

Background.

Our aim was to evaluate the prevalence and relationship of symptoms with reduced dietary intake, weight, and functional capacity in patients with head and neck cancer.

Methods.

Three hundred forty-one patients were prospectively screened with the patient-generated subjective global assessment before treatment. Logistic analysis was used to relate symptoms to reduced dietary intake, weight, and functional capacity. Cumulative hazard analysis was performed to determine the time and risk of weight loss of each symptom. Survival analysis was performed with Cox proportional hazards model.

Results.

Anorexia, dysphagia, mouth sores, and others were significant predictors of reduced dietary intake and weight. Symptom presence accelerated the time and probability of weight loss. Body mass index ≤18.5 related to overall survival (p value = .001).

Conclusions.

Symptoms present before treatment may adversely affect the dietary intake, weight, and functional capacity of patients. Symptom treatment and management is critical to weight loss prevention. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Head Neck, 2010