Reduce or manage side effects of head and neck cancer treatment like dysphagia with the help of the speech-language pathologists (SLPs) at Stamford Health. We can help evaluate, diagnose, and treat swallowing disorders to help you feel better.
Dysphagia is any difficulty swallowing. Dysphagia can cause:
- Frequent coughing or throat clearing while eating or drinking
- Feeling of food getting stuck in the throat
- Change in voice clarity like wet or gurgle sounding
- Increase in effort or number of swallows to clear food
What Causes Dysphagia?
If you have head and neck cancer, you have a higher risk for developing dysphagia during and after cancer treatment. That's because of the location of your cancer and the side effects of chemotherapy, radiation treatment, or surgery.
Other Side Effects of Head and Neck Cancer --- (we don’t treat these conditions, but they do impact swallowing)
Please let us know if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms so we can help you find relief during cancer treatment for side effects like:
- Fibrosis – Stiffening and scarring of tissue due to radiation
- Lymphedema – Collection of fluid that may cause swelling around the head and neck
- Mucositis – Inflammation of the mucous membranes of the mouth or throat that cause sores, redness, or pain during swallowing
- Thrush – White coating on the tongue due to a candida fungal infection that can cause discomfort while swallowing
- Trismus – Difficulty opening your mouth, also known as lockjaw
- Xerostomia – Dry mouth
Therapy for Swallowing Problems
Take advantage of speech therapy at the Bennett Cancer Center to minimize the side effects of head and neck cancer treatment. You’ll benefit from our pre-rehabilitation program that makes it easier for you to access your
exercises from home and track your performance to ensure proper technique during your workouts.
Work closely with your speech-language pathologist to get therapy early in your cancer care that focuses on the head and neck muscles involved in swallowing. When you start speech therapy early, it helps prevent or limit the swallowing side effects of head and neck cancer treatment.