Use it or lose it: Eat and exercise during radiotherapy or chemoradiotherapy for pharyngeal cancers

A study conducted by Hutcheson in 2013 investigated the effects of swallowing exercises and continuing PO intake on head and neck cancer patients during radiotherapy or chemoradiotherapy. The authors concluded that both of these recommendations are important for head and neck cancer patients.

"Data indicate independent, positive associations between maintenance of PO intake throughout RT/CRT and swallowing exercise adherence with long-term swallowing outcomes. Patients who either eat or exercise fare better than those who do neither. Patients who both eat and exercise have the highest return to a regular diet and shortest gastrostomy dependence."

Katherine A. Hutcheson, PhD, Mihir K. Bhayani, MD, Beth M. Beadle, MD, PhD, Kathryn A. Gold, MD, Eileen H. Shinn, PhD, Stephen Y. Lai, MD, PhD, and Jan Lewin, PhD. Use it or lose it: Eat and exercise during radiotherapy or chemoradiotherapy for pharyngeal cancers. JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2014 Mar 30. Published in final edited form as: JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2013 Nov; 139(11): 1127–1134.doi: 10.1001/jamaoto.2013.4715; PMCID: PMC3969836; NIHMSID: NIHMS563426



Jolie Parker, M.S.CCC-SLP is a speech language pathologist who specializes in treating patients with dysphagia (swallowing problems). She is a co-inventor of the ISO Swallowing Exercise Device, co-owner of Alternative Speech and Swallowing Solutions. She provides home speech language pathology therapy visits to children and adults in the Orlando, FL area. Many dysphagia patients have been able to transition from PEG tube, NPO, pureed diet, mechanical soft diet, and/or thickened liquids back to regular foods and liquids with her dysphagia treatment method.