Neoh M.K.1, Abu Zaid Z. 2, Abdul Rahman Z. 1, Jamhuri N. 1
1 National Cancer Institute, Putrajaya
2 Universiti Putra Malaysia
Nutrition status is one of the factors to determine for oral nutritional supplements (ONS) supplementation especially in malnourished patients. In fact, weight loss is well-known to happen in head and neck cancer (HNC) patients during radiotherapy. The purpose of this study is to evaluate changes in weight, nutrition impact symptoms (NIS), ONS energy and protein intakes that occur throughout the radiotherapy in well-nourished and malnourished HNC patients.
A prospective observational study in HNC inpatients who underwent radiotherapy with or without chemotherapy were recruited to participate. Twenty-eight well-nourished and twenty-two malnourished HNC patients were followed weekly during radiotherapy. NIS assessed with Head and Neck Symptoms Checklist and ONS energy and protein intakes were collected throughout radiotherapy.
Results & Discussion
At the end of treatment, malnourished patients experienced lesser weight loss compared to well-nourished patients (6.64 ¬± 4 kg, 8.34 ¬± 4.05 kg; p= 0.144) in this study despite no statistical differences between these two groups. Around 82% of malnourished and 55% of well-nourished patients were started on ONS at the beginning of radiotherapy. ONS intake in the well-nourished group lower compared to the malnourished group but a similar NIS trend in both groups along the radiotherapy treatment.
Well-nourished HNC patients should not be neglected in nutritional concerns as all HNC patients have the same NIS trends developed during treatment. All HNC patients should have a clear understanding of NIS that will affect oral intake regardless of their baseline nutrition status. This is essential to prevent nutritional status depletion which is predictable during RT treatment.