Caudell et al identified risk factors for severe long-term dysphagia in a patient receiving radiation therapy for a head and neck cancer. These can help to identify a patient who may benefit from interventions to reduce the severity of the local injury. The authors are from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Patient selection: history of radiation therapy for a Stage III or IV head and neck cancer


Risk factors for severe long-term dysphagia:

(1) older age (> 55 years)

(2) concurrent chemotherapy

(3) location of primary tumor (larynx, hypopharynx, base of tongue, pharyngeal wall)



• The manner in which the radiation therapy is given can also increase the risk of dysphagia but this was not identified in the analysis. Concomitant boost fractionation was associated with an increased risk for dysphagia.

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