April is Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Month which includes cancers of nasal cavity, sinuses, lips, mouth, thyroid glands, salivary glands, throat and voice box. Most head and neck cancers can be prevented, and many are curable if caught early. Including a Registered Dietitian for nutrition intervention and Speech and Language Pathologist as part of your treatment team has been shown to lead to more positive outcomes related to treatment. Below you will find information regarding the typical signs that may indicated a Head and Neck Cancer malignancy, risk factors, possible treatment options and how both the Registered Dietitian and Speech and Language Pathologist can provide support to improve outcomes.
What are the symptoms of Head and Neck Cancer?
If you present with symptoms that are concerning, they should be brought to your physician’s attention as soon as possible.
What are the risk factors for Head and Neck Cancer?
What are the treatment types?
Treatment options are dependent on the stage, type and location of tumor as well as the patient’s health prior to starting treatment.
The Role of Nutrition:
Goals of Nutrition Intervention:
What is a Speech Pathologist?
A speech pathologist is a health care professional who can evaluate your swallowing function, identify areas of weakness, and causes of swallowing difficulties (dysphagia). They can provide exercises and techniques to improve swallowing function and evaluate speech problems associated with the treatment of head and neck cancers.
What are some of the swallowing problems after treatment for head and neck cancer?
Many of these problems are a result of surgical removal of cancer tumors in the mouth or throat. Swallowing problems can also be from muscle loss (atrophy) in the head and neck from lack of use or damage from treatment Tissue damage from radiation can develop years after treatment.
What are the treatments for swallowing problems?
What are the possible speech changes after treatments for head and neck cancer?
What are treatments for speech changes?
When should I see a speech pathologist?
Common swallowing concerns include:
Ask your MN Oncology Provider for a referral to see Registered Dietitian and Speech and Language Pathologist:
Speech and Language Pathologist at Midwest Ears, Nose and Throat SpecialistsAnn E. Smith, M.S. CCC