NUTRITIONAL CONCEPTS IN THE MANAGEMENT OF THE HEAD AND NECK CANCER PATIENT. II. MANAGEMENT CONCEPTS

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Abstract

ABSTRACT

Essential to the management of the head and neck cancer patient is carefully monitored nutritional support. Traditionally, enteral alimentation, using the nasogastric feeding tube, has been the mainstay of treatment. Tube feedings should provide ample amounts of essential nutrients, minerals, vitamins, and adequate calories and protein. Knowledge of the tube feedings available and problems associated with their administration helps to avoid the pitfalls which limit their effectiveness. The inadequacies of enteral alimentation preclude its use in selected circumstances of severe nutritional depletion. Parenteral hyperalimentation, as a primary or adjuvant mode of therapy, may be capable of rapidly reversing deficits, improving postoperative morbidity and increasing tolerance to radiation and chemotherapy. Postoperative deglutition abnormalities may prolong the nutritional problems of head and neck cancer patients as well.

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