Pathway for Head and Neck Cancer Patients

The Speech & Language Therapist (SLT) is part of the Head and Neck Multi-disciplinary team at the Norfolk & Norwich University NHS Foundation.

The Head and Neck SLT Team provide a service for people with communication or swallowing difficulties associated with head and neck cancer. This can be before/during or after your treatment and can affect swallowing/eating and drinking, speech or voice.

Support for Swallowing Difficulties
• Provide advice around expected swallowing changes as a consequence of your cancer and/or treatment.
• Provide specialist assessment of your ability to eat and drink safely and easily, this may include watching you have something to eat and drink, using x ray to view your swallowing (Videofluoroscopy) or assessing your swallowing using an endoscope (Fibreoptic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallow, FEES).
• Offer advice on the safest/easiest consistency of food and drink.
• Provide swallowing therapy after you have had your treatment.
• Help you return to eating and drinking safely if you have been fed by a feeding tube.

Support for Communication Difficulties
• Provide advice on expected communication changes as a consequence of your cancer and/or treatment.
• Assess problems you may be having with your voice and provide advice and exercises to help with this.
• Assess and advise about any speech problems you may be having.
• The SLT team also provide specialist voice rehabilitation following removal of the larynx (laryngectomy).

When will we see you?
• When you attend head and neck clinic before you have treatment
• Regularly during your radiotherapy treatment
• Whilst you are in the hospital for your surgery
• For therapy as an outpatient
• When you attend head and neck clinic after you have had treatment for ongoing advice.