Toxicities Caused by Head and Neck Cancer Treatments and Their Influence on the Development of Malnutrition: Review of the Literature

Maddison Hunter, Jane Kellett, Kellie Toohey, Nathan D'Cunha, Stephen Isbel, Nenad Naumovski

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

Malnutrition poses a significant problem for oncology patients, resulting in fatalities within this population. Patients with head and neck cancer (HNC) are at high risk, with up to 90% developing malnutrition. Common treatments used for HNC can often lead to adverse side effects, including oral health conditions, gastrointestinal upsets, and several metabolic changes. Consequently, treatments can cause inadequate nutritional intake, resulting in a reduction in energy consumption, and alterations in energy utilization, contributing to the development of malnutrition. Furthermore, the presence of these treatment toxicities, and the related malnutrition can lead to reduced quality of life, weight loss, and psychological distress. There are interventions available (nutritional, medicinal, and physical therapies) that have demonstrated potential effectiveness in reducing the severity of symptomatic toxicities, reducing the risk of malnutrition, and improving survival outcomes of patients with HNC. Based on the findings of this review, there is an urgent need for the implementation or continuation of multi-disciplinary strategies, as well as updated and improved guidelines to assist in the prevention and treatment of malnutrition caused by treatment-related toxicities in patients with HNC.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)935-949
Number of pages15
JournalEuropean Journal of Investigation in Health, Psychology and Education
Volume10
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2020

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