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Research into the prevention and rehabilitation of dysphagia in head and neck cancer: a UK perspective

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Joanne Patterson


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Purpose of reviewThere is an increasing recognition of dysphagia as a frequent, often severe and chronic side-effect of head and neck cancer treatment. There has been a global increase in the number of head and neck cancer survivors, increasing the urgency of finding ways to best manage swallowing difficulties.Recent findingsThere are several research studies investigating strategies and developing interventions to prevent and treat this debilitating condition. The United Kingdom has a growing number of trials and feasibility studies in this area, which have secured national funding. Research themes include changes, modifications, and deescalation of cancer treatments to reduce side-effects; interventions to encourage maintenance of eating and drinking and swallowing exercises during radiotherapy; and novel interventions to address post-treatment dysphagia. Research into this field presents with numerous challenges, including issues with recruitment, retention, and adherence to rehabilitation programmes.SummaryIn this study, we present recent advances in knowledge, research themes, and current UK-based research. Our multicentre studies will facilitate standardization of outcome measures and strengthen multidisciplinary, academic, and international collaborations. Findings over the coming years will help progress our understanding of how best to prevent and manage dysphagia in head and neck cancer.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Patterson JM, Brady GC, Roe JWG

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Current Opinion in Otolaryngology & Head and Neck Surgery

Year: 2016

Volume: 24

Issue: 3

Pages: 208-214

Print publication date: 01/06/2016

Acceptance date: 01/01/1900

ISSN (print): 1068-9508

ISSN (electronic): 1531-6998



DOI: 10.1097/MOO.0000000000000260