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Thursday

9:15 AM – 12:30 PM

Behavioural Swallowing Therapy for Patients with Head and Neck Cancer: Evidence of Benefit Related to What, When and How Much

The language used in the descriptions reflects the language of the sessions.

Various treatments for oropharyngeal dysphagia in patients with head and neck cancer have been introduced and studied over the years. Behavioural exercise therapies offer the opportunity for long-term change in the swallow, mediated in principle by changes to the central control of swallow via neuroplasticity. However, it is unclear what therapies to provide, when to offer them and how much therapy yields the most benefit. This session will provide a comprehensive review of the available behavioural therapies with an in-depth analysis of evidence for their benefit in patients with head and neck cancer. A novel therapy will be introduced called, EAT-RT (Eat All Through Radiotherapy), developed specifically to maintain oral intake throughout radiotherapy in order to avoid disuse of swallowing muscles.

Learning objectives:

  • Review the evidence of behavioural swallowing therapies available for patients with head and neck cancer.
  • Compare and contrast the available therapies according to what, when and how much.
  • Describe a novel therapy, EAT-RT, that aims to facilitate maintenance of oral intake throughout head and neck radiotherapy.
  • Demonstrate how EAT-RT establishes goal setting for oral intake during routine mealtime throughout radiotherapy and beyond.
Level

Intermediate

Intended Audience

Speech-Language Pathologists, Students

Age Group(s)

Adult (18-64), Senior (65+)