Swallowing Exercises in Head and Neck Cancer Radiation therapy is a principal treatment strategy for head and neck cancer (HNCA) and is associated with acute, chronic, and late-onset dysphagia. With the rising incidence of oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma associated with the human papilloma virus, it is particularly important for speech-language pathologists (SLPs) to acquire understanding of the ... Article
Article  |   March 01, 2017
Swallowing Exercises in Head and Neck Cancer
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Heather M. Starmer
    Department of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, Stanford University, Stanford, CA
    Director of the Head and Neck Speech and Swallowing Rehabilitation Program, Stanford Cancer Center, Stanford, CA
  • Disclosures
    Disclosures ×
  • Financial: Heather M. Starmer has no relevant financial interests to disclose.
    Financial: Heather M. Starmer has no relevant financial interests to disclose.×
  • Nonfinancial: Heather M. Starmer has no relevant nonfinancial interests to disclose.
    Nonfinancial: Heather M. Starmer has no relevant nonfinancial interests to disclose.×
Article Information
Swallowing, Dysphagia & Feeding Disorders / Special Populations / Part 1
Article   |   March 01, 2017
Swallowing Exercises in Head and Neck Cancer
Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups, March 2017, Vol. 2, 21-26. doi:10.1044/persp2.SIG13.21
History: Received July 27, 2016 , Revised September 1, 2016 , Accepted September 11, 2016
Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups, March 2017, Vol. 2, 21-26. doi:10.1044/persp2.SIG13.21
History: Received July 27, 2016; Revised September 1, 2016; Accepted September 11, 2016

Radiation therapy is a principal treatment strategy for head and neck cancer (HNCA) and is associated with acute, chronic, and late-onset dysphagia. With the rising incidence of oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma associated with the human papilloma virus, it is particularly important for speech-language pathologists (SLPs) to acquire understanding of the pathophysiology of such dysphagia as well as strategies to diminish risk of its development. Preventative swallowing exercises and maintenance of oral diet have been associated with superior outcomes; however, adherence to these interventions can be challenging. In this article, we will review radiation-associated dysphagia, treatments employed to minimize its development, and strategies to enhance patient adherence.

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