Functional problems after treatment for head and neck cancer are the bane of so many patients lives. Speech is inevitably an issue, especially for laryngectomees, but swallowing problems cause so much distress as well.
I recently met a laryngectomee who has never found an alternative voice, aside from phone apps. Now, six years down the line, he has additionally begun to experience problems with swallowing.
Researchers at the University of Alberta in Canada have developed a device that can extend the swallowing function from liquids only to a more normal diet.
It is early days and the research only involved a small number of patients but hopefully such strategies will enable future patients to have a better quality of life after treatment.