Swallowing Evaluation after Surgery for Head and Neck Cancer

Cesar Ruiz, MA
Last Modified: November 1, 2001

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Question
Dear OncoLink "Ask the Experts,"
Is it common for all patients to have a swallowing evaluation done after neck cancer surgery?


Answer
Cesar Ruiz, MA, Speech Pathologist at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, responds:

Although we can not comment on a specific cancer diagnosis or surgery, since none is mentioned in your question, we can give general guidelines which are in place here at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP). Here at HUP we try to see everyone having head and neck cancer surgery preoperatively and then post operatively. A swallowing evaluation is performed before oral feeding is initiated after surgery. If they are going to have radiation treatment, patients will be referred back to us should any dysphagia (difficulty in swallowing) develop. We believe that even if the surgery is small, the overall speech and swallowing systems may be affected. Therefore an evaluation may be warranted to assure that the patient will use the systems to the best of his/her abilities, as well as be able to maintain the systems in shape through exercises.


News
VTE Occurs in 13 Percent of Head, Neck Cancer Surgery Cases

Oct 7, 2013 - Venous thromboembolism rates in a prospective cohort of head and neck cancer surgical patients are higher than previously reported in retrospective studies, according to research published online Sept. 26 in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.



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