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Mid Coast Hospital
Head & Neck Cancer Care

Why a Speech-Language Pathologist is Needed

Tumors and the head and neck surgeries needed to remove them can cause dysphagia (difficulty swallowing), altered voice quality, or speech changes. Functional restoration and successful rehabilitation of the affected patient is a team effort that should include a speech-language pathologist.

Speech therapy is helpful when you have experienced the following:

  • Oral surgery
  • Throat surgery
  • Laryngectomy (removal of the larynx)
  • Radiation Therapy

Role of Speech Language Pathologist

The speech language pathologist plays a vital role in both the pre and post operative care of a patient undergoing treatment for head and/or neck cancers.

Pre-operative Counseling
The pathologist provides education regarding possible changes in speech and swallowing. He or she will also discuss the services available once the patient is medically cleared for speech/language treatment.

Post treatment Speech/Voice/Swallowing Assessment
Following surgery, the pathologist completes an assessment of the patient and identifies exact changes in speech, voice, and swallowing.

Initiation of Speech and Swallowing Therapy
Therapies are specific to the type of surgery performed and may include:

  • Community support
  • Compensatory strategies
  • Dietary recommendations
  • Muscle exercises
  • Prosthetic management
  • Safe swallowing techniques
  • Voice therapy techniques

For more information about us please call 373-6175.