Swallowing Exercises: Will They Really Help Head and Neck Cancer Patients?

Document Type: Research Articles

Authors

1 Department of Clinical Oncology, Kasr Al-Ainy School of Medicine, Cairo University, Egypt.

2 Medical – Surgical Nursing, Faculty of Nursing, Cairo University, Egypt.

Abstract

Purpose: The work was a comparative study, the aim of which is to evaluate the impact of swallowing exercises on
swallowing problems among head and neck cancer patients (HNCPs) after CRT. Methods: The sample of 60 HNCPs
was equally divided into control and study groups. The investigators met all patients 3 times (before, during and after
CRT); swallowing ability was assessed using the Sydney Swallowing Questionnaire (SSQ). The University of Texas,
MD Anderson Cancer Center Swallowing Exercise Protocol was explained and demonstrated by the investigators to
the study group. All tools used were translated into Arabic. Data analyses were carried out using the statistical package
for social sciences (SPSS), program version 20. Results: Most of the patients from both groups experienced mild
dysphagia during the 1st visit. By the 3rd visit, severe dysphagia (to thin and thick liquids, and soft and hard food)
was higher in the control group (73.3%) compared to the study group (26.7%). By the third visit there was statistically
significant difference between both groups in swallowing thin liquids (p = 0.01), as well as thick liquids (p = 0.01).
At the 1st visit, there was no significant difference regarding swallowing soft food (p = 0.24), hard food (p = 0.17),
dry food (p = 0.89) and swallowing Saliva (p = 0.28). While by the 3rd visit, there was significant difference between
control and study groups in all parameters. Conclusions: Adequate prevention and treatment of dysphagia, with use
of swallowing programs, is essential to plan a complete therapeutic programme.

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