Exercise beneficial for patients with head and neck cancers undergoing radiation therapy

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Exercise beneficial for patients with head and neck cancers undergoing radiation therapy
Exercise beneficial for patients with head and neck cancers undergoing radiation therapy

(HealthDay News) -- For patients with head and neck cancers undergoing radiation therapy, an exercise regimen is better than a repetitive swallow regimen for swallowing function, according to a study published in the February issue of Head & Neck.

Aneesha Virani, Ph.D., from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, and colleagues examined the effects of two different swallowing exercise regimens performed during radiation therapy for head and neck cancer. Fifty patients were recruited and allocated to the exercise group (26 patients) and the repetitive swallow group (24 patients). The authors compared Functional Oral Intake Scale scores and percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) placements post-treatment and at three months.

The researchers found that at three months post-treatment, the exercise group eliminated significantly more PEG tubes than the swallow group (16 versus 50 percent still tube dependent). The exercise group had significantly less PEG tube dependence than the swallow group immediately post-treatment (35 versus 69 percent) and at three months post-treatment (10 versus 50 percent) among patients who received both radiation and chemotherapy.

"Findings indicate significant benefits of the exercise group's exercise regimen in reducing PEG dependence and oral intake difficulties," the authors write.

Abstract
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