A descriptive review of the factors contributing to nutritional compromise in patients with head and neck cancer
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INTRODUCTION: Malnutrition has been known to be associated with adverse outcomes in cancer patients. Patients who have been and/or are being treated for head and neck cancer have a compromised nutritional status. Nutritional deficits have a significant impact on mortality, morbidity, and quality of life. DISCUSSION: The wasting in cancer cachexia involves loss of muscle and fat and reflects a catabolic metabolism induced by an abnormal host response to tumor presence and/or tumor factors. Disturbances of various physiological functions like taste, smell, dysphagia, xerostomia apart from cachexia can contribute to long-term nutritional complications and outcome. CONCLUSION: Improved management of patients in posttreatment for head and neck cancer may require a multimodal approach by a multidisciplinary team and is best commenced earlier in the trajectory of the disease.
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