Prevalence of nutritional deficiency in patients with oral and oropharyngeal cancer

  • A. O. Kushta National Pirogov Memorial Medical University, Vinnytsya, Ukraine
Keywords: nutritional status, nutritional deficiency, cancer, oral cavity, oropharynx.


Tumors of the mouth and oropharynx are a significant group of malignant neoplasms characterized by a progressive increase in morbidity. Almost every patient has dysphagia and accounts for 90-95 % of cases. Problems with swallowing in head and neck cancer may be associated primarily with the type and size of the tumor itself, which impairs the ability to eat. Therefore, the question of the presence of malnutrition in patients with oral and oropharyngeal cancer in the preoperative period and methods for detecting nutritional insufficiency remains open significant criteria for nutritional status violation. The aim of our study was to evaluate the frequency of nutritional insufficiency in patients with oncopathology of the oral cavity and oropharynx in the preoperative period and to identify the most significant criteria for nutritional status disorders. The results of nutritional status assessment of 46 patients with oncopathology of the oral cavity and oral pharynx in the preoperative period were analyzed. Somatometric (body mass index, shoulder circumference, skin-fat clot thickness) and laboratory (total blood protein, albumin, transfers, absolute lymphocyte count) methods were used. Mean values were reduced only for albumin and the absolute number of lymphocytes. Anthropometric indicators in the study group, with the exception of a moderate decrease in the size of the skin and fat folds in men, were within normal limits. Analyzing the data obtained, it was found that 85 % (39 patients) of patients were malnourished. In 32 patients the disorders were mild, in 6 – moderate and one had severe malnutrition. When assessing the trophological status, it was found that one indicator was reduced in 35 % (16/46), two – in 28 % (13/46), three – in 31 % (14/46), four – in 4 % (2/46), five – in 2 % (1/46). Malnutrition was detected by assessing the absolute number of lymphocytes in 71 % and blood albumin in 63 %, the thickness of the skin and fat clot in 50 %. BMI assessment revealed grade I malnutrition in 7 patients, while malnutrition was detected in 85 %. Thus, comprehensive study revealed in the preoperative period in patients with oncopathology of the oral and oropharynx a high incidence of malnutrition (85 %). The main contribution to the change of trophological status is a decrease in the cellular component of immunity and albumin.


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How to Cite
Kushta, A. O. (2021). Prevalence of nutritional deficiency in patients with oral and oropharyngeal cancer. Biomedical and Biosocial Anthropology, (43), 13-17.