National Cancer Survivors Day

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Focus on Oral, Head, Neck & Thyroid Cancers


Get Help for Speech and Swallowing Difficulties after Head and Neck Cancer

by Mary J. Bacon, MA, CCC-SLP, BCS-S

A diagnosis of head and neck can­cer often raises concerns about speech clarity, voice quality, and swallowing ability. The degree to which a person’s speech and swallowing func­tions are affected varies depending on the type, size, and location of the tumor and the method used to treat it. Some people glide through treatment with little difficulty, while others experience impairment that is more extensive.

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Photo by Cancer Type

Managing Speech and Swallowing Complications Resulting from Head and Neck Cancer

by Jan S. Lewin, PhD

Head and neck cancer often results in significant functional changes in speech, voice, and swallowing. These problems can occur as a result of the disease or of the treatment. It is important to have a thorough and real­istic understanding of the functional effects of treatment because the restora­tion of communication and the ability to swallow may be critical to your treatment decision.

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Photo by Cancer Type

Swallowing Exercises Shown to Preserve Function in People with Head and Neck Cancer Receiving Radiation

A study from UCLA’s Jonsson Com­prehensive Cancer Center has found that people with head and neck cancer receiv­ing radiation as part of their treatment were less likely to experience unwanted side effects such as worsening of diet, need for a feeding tube, or narrowing of the throat passage if they complied with a set of prescribed swallowing exercises during therapy.

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