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Dysphagia prevalence and predictors in cancers outside the head, neck, and upper gastrointestinal tract

Journal of Pain and Symptom Management Aug 28, 2019

Kenny C, Regan J, Balding L, et al. - Adults with solid malignancies outside the head, neck, and upper gastrointestinal tract were examined for the prevalence and predictors of dysphagia. In this cross-sectional, observational study involving 385 participants (mean age 66 ±12 years) with 21 different primary cancer sites from 2 acute hospitals and 1 hospice, dysphagia occurred in 19%. In palliative care and hospice care, researchers noted the prevalence of 30% and 32%, respectively. They observed the most strong association of dysphagia with cough, nausea, and worse performance status. Further, it was observed in association with lower quality of life and nutritional difficulties. Dysphagia was usually undiagnosed prior to study participation, and occurred at all disease stages. Findings suggested its possible value as a cancer frailty marker, and emphasized its timely identification and management to enhance patient wellbeing and prevent adverse effects like aspiration pneumonia and weight loss.

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