To study functional outcomes following concurrent chemoradiotherapy of head and neck cancer. A retrospective chart review assessed diet, feeding tube use, and tracheotomy pretreatment and 3, 6, 12, and 24 months posttreatment. Of 196 patients who underwent chemoradiotherapy between 1990 and 2002, 148 (76%) required feeding tubes immediately posttreatment; 150 (77%) required nutritional support at 3 months. By 12 months, 92% were tube-free and 83% resumed near-normal diet. Of 17 patients (9%) with tracheotomy posttreatment, 71% were decannulated by 6 months. Stage IV disease strongly predicted prolonged feeding tube use and slow recovery of diet; age <60 also predicted slow recovery. Primary site, gender, and radiotherapy schedule did not predict functional recovery after adjusting for stage and age. Few patients required tracheotomy before or during chemoradiotherapy. Many patients required feeding tubes and nutritional support for several months following therapy, but most were tube-free and eating near-normal diets within 1 year. EBM rating: C.
ASJC Scopus subject areas