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A prospective randomized comparative trial evaluating postoperative nutritional intervention in patients with oral cancer

Sci Rep. 2022 Aug 20;12(1):14213. doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-18292-8.


Extensive surgical treatment of oral cancer results in significant deterioration of nutritional status with concomitant increased nutrient requirements. The consequences are an elevated risk of postoperative complaints as well as morbidity and mortality. The aim of this study was to investigate an additional postoperative nutritional intervention through professional nutritional advice and nutritional supplementation in patients with oral cancer for at least six months. 62 patients with oral cancer in the department of oral and maxillofacial surgery were randomized into two groups. The intervention group received nutritional supplements, protein-rich, high-fiber diet and care by a professional nutritionist in addition to the standard treatment. The control group received only the standard treatment. Statistical analysis includes the evaluation of means and standard deviations as well as the calculation of p values with a significance level of 0.05. A deficiency of protein, albumin, vitamin D, zinc and iron was noticed in both groups immediately after surgery. Patients in the intervention group recorded significantly less weight loss (pT2 = 0.0031, pT4 = 0.0424), a more stable BMI (pT2 = 0.0496), better values for albumin (pT2 = 0.0265), vitamin A (pT3 = 0.0248, pT4 = 0.0007) and calcium (pT3 = 0.0362) during the follow-ups. The patients in the intervention group showed significantly fewer digestive problems (p = 0.0062) and muscular complaints (p = 0.0448). They showed better eating habits (p = 0.0348) and were capable of more physical activity (p = 0.0045) than patients in the control group. Patients with oral cancer can have a benefit from postoperative nutritional intervention. Early screening, appropriate care by a nutritionist and supplementation with vitamin D, zinc, calcium and protein-rich food are recommended.

PMID:35987809 | DOI:10.1038/s41598-022-18292-8

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