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Dysphagia in Patients with Nasopharyngeal Cancer After Radiation Therapy: A Videofluoroscopic Swallowing Study

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Abstract

This study evaluated swallowing status and the factors influencing swallowing in patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) after radiation therapy. During the period from July 1995 to June 1999, this cross-sectional study used videofluoroscopic swallowing study (VFSS) to evaluate 184 NPC patients who had completed radiation therapy [113 cases had completed radiation therapy ≤12 months prior to evaluation (acute group) and 71 cases had completed radiation therapy >12 months prior to evaluation (chronic group)]. The numbers of patients with tumors in each of the four stages were as follows: 24 in stage I, 45 in stage II, 41 in stage III, and 74 in stage IV. Swallowing abnormalities of the acute and chronic groups were correlated with multiple variables, including gender, age, the stage of the tumor, use of either neoadjuvant chemotherapy or radiosensitizer, and radiation modality. The analytical results indicated that the chronic group had a significantly higher proportion of swallowing abnormalities. Radiation modality, chemotherapy, and tumor staging were not significantly associated with swallowing dysfunction. Trend analysis revealed a progressive deterioration of most parameters of swallowing function in this group of patients. These findings indicate that swallowing function continues to deteriorate over time, even many years after radiation therapy in patients with NPC. Our results indicate that the time elapsed since radiation therapy correlates with the severity of dysphagia in NPC patients.

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Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank the National Science Council of the Republic of China for financially supporting this research (NSC86-2314-B-002-220).

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Correspondence to Tyng-Guey Wang MD.

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Chang, Y., Chen, S., Tak Lui, L. et al. Dysphagia in Patients with Nasopharyngeal Cancer After Radiation Therapy: A Videofluoroscopic Swallowing Study . Dysphagia 18, 135–143 (2003). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00455-002-0096-x

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Keywords

  • cNasopharyngeal carcinoma
  • Radiation
  • Swallowing
  • Dysphagia
  • Deglutition
  • Deglutition disorders