, Volume 29, Issue 6, pp 663–670 | Cite as

Functional Swallowing Outcomes in Nasopharyngeal Cancer Treated with IMRT at 6 to 42 months Post-Radiotherapy

  • Margaret Patterson
  • Rowena BrainEmail author
  • Ronald Chin
  • David Veivers
  • Michael Back
  • Andrew Wignall
  • Thomas Eade
Original Article


We sought to evaluate the swallowing function of 18 patients surviving nasopharyngeal cancer, who had been treated using an intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) protocol designed to minimise functional impairment. We compared the outcomes of a patient-reported oral function score with fiberoptic endoscopic examination of swallow (FEES), Australian Therapy Outcome Measures (AusTOMs) and a measure of trismus. While all patients returned to a fully oral diet, there was ongoing swallow dysfunction characterised by bolus residue and delay, but no aspiration. Dysphagia was of mild or moderate severity on all measures, generally because of the need for texture modification, impaired bolus transit or dysgeusia. There was xerostomia on self-reported measurement combined with reports of behaviours adaptive to xerostomia on AusTOMs; however, salivary functioning was less impaired on FEES. There was no trismus in this cohort. Our cohort lacked the morbidity experienced by cohorts reported in earlier studies, potentially due to the use of IMRT.


Deglutition and deglutition disorders Swallowing Nasopharyngeal cancer IMRT Xerostomia 


Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Margaret Patterson
    • 1
  • Rowena Brain
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ronald Chin
    • 3
    • 4
  • David Veivers
    • 1
    • 4
  • Michael Back
    • 1
    • 2
  • Andrew Wignall
    • 1
  • Thomas Eade
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Royal North Shore HospitalSt LeonardsAustralia
  2. 2.University of SydneyCamperdownAustralia
  3. 3.Nepean HospitalKingswoodAustralia
  4. 4.University of SydneyCamperdownAustralia

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