Patients who adhere to dietary advice showed improved nutritional status as shown by research findings in head and neck cancer patients under radiotherapy.
Radiotherapy is associated with increased risk of malnutrition. Up to 30% of the prevalence of weight loss in patients with head and neck cancer may be due to mucositis and dysphagia leading to adverse effects. Some of these adverse effects include: reduction in physical activity, increased treatment related toxicity, poor treatment response, increased susceptibility to infection and shorter survival.
The aim of this prospective study in 69 head and neck cancer patients under radiotherapy was primarily to evaluate the impact of compliance with individual dietary advice and nutritional counselling provided by the dietitian on body composition measured by BIA.
Patients enrolled in the study with adjuvant or definitive radiotherapy with or without chemotherapy received nutritional counselling and oral nutritional supplements.
Compliance was specified if a patient consumed ≥75% of the recommended energy and protein intake via oral nutritional supplements and regular food, whereas those who failed to meet this criteria were considered to be “noncompliant”.
As outcome parameters, % fat mass, fat free mass, muscle mass, hand grip strength, and severity of mucositis were measured. In contrast to noncompliant patients whose weight,% fat mass, fat free mass, and muscle mass significantly decreased from baseline until the end of the intervention period all parameters remained stable in compliant patients.
The reason for noncompliance with dietary advice and nutritional counselling may have been as a result of mucositis. This is because retrospectively evaluated, heavy mucositis was less commonly observed in compliant patients compared with non-compliant patients (11% vs. 89%).
In conclusion, patients with head and neck cancer who were compliant with dietary advice showed better indices when assessed by BIA. As such, nutritional therapy effectiveness may be enhanced by a better management of the side effects of radiotherapy (i.e. mucositis).
Scientific References: Hopanci Bicakli D. et al. (2017). The Effects of Compliance with Nutritional Counselling on Body Composition Parameters in Head and Neck Cancer Patients under Radiotherapy. J Nutr Metab 2017;2017:8631945.
Publication Source: PubMed.Gov