Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Science


Health and Rehabilitation Sciences


Doyle, Philip C.

2nd Supervisor

Theurer, Julie




This study investigated differences in outcomes related to health, swallowing, and quality of life (QoL) for individuals with oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPSCC) receiving either radiotherapy (RT) alone, or concomitant chemoradiotherapy (CRT). Differences were assessed based on whether patients received a feeding tube (FT group) or not (NFT group). Measures including the Functional Oral Intake Scale (FOIS), Performance Status Scale for Head and Neck Cancer (PSS-HN), M.D. Anderson Dysphagia Inventory (MDADI), and weight were collected for 126 individuals at baseline, and at 3, 6, and 12 months post-treatment. Data were analyzed to identify potential prognostic differences between the groups, and to assess pre-treatment differences which may have led to the need for and dependence on enteral feeding. Within-group analyses were also performed to determine the trajectory of recovery for both groups. In general, the most notable differences were found at 3 months, with the NFT group performing significantly better in outcomes related to functional oral intake and swallowing-related QoL. However, participants in the NFT were more likely to have clinically significant decreases in weight, even at 12 months, showing difficulty with recovering back to baseline status. Although the results of this retrospective chart review are preliminary, the findings have the potential to contribute to improved decision-making and communication in a clinical setting, and may ultimately lead to better outcomes for those with OPSCC.

Keywords: oropharyngeal cancer, radiotherapy, chemoradiotherapy, enteral feeding, swallowing, dysphagia, oral intake, quality of life