The Impact of Cancer and Cancer Treatment on Speech and Swallowing Function (38:35)

a seminar included in

COURSE: Core Competencies in Interdisciplinary Cancer Rehabilitation



The complex physiological, anatomical, and biomechanical interactions for swallowing and speech are often disrupted by the effects of cancer and cancer treatment interventions. Dysphagia and dysarthria can cause debilitating physical, functional, and emotional impairments, and may pose life-threatening complications for people with cancer.

In this seminar, the presenter discusses specific cancer disease types, cancer treatment interventions, and acute, late, and long-term effects that have the greatest impact on swallowing and speech function. She further emphasizes the importance of implementing presurgical assessments, prehabilitation, and prospective surveillance screening for patients at risk for cancer-related swallowing and speech impairments.

The audience will understand the essential role that the speech and language pathologist has on the interdisciplinary cancer care team throughout the cancer care continuum. They will learn about evidence-based speech and language therapy offered to cancer patients to achieve optimal functioning, highest quality of life, and improved overall survivorship. They will also be introduced to validated outcomes measures to assess speech and swallowing function and the pertinent research that supports those tools.


  • Introduce impairments related to cancer and cancer treatments that can affect speech and swallowing function
  • Discuss the cancer treatment interventions and their acute, late, and long-term effects on speech and swallowing systems
  • Expose the prevalent cancer disease types that have the biggest impact on speech and swallowing function
  • Define validated measurement tools to assess speech and swallowing function
  • Explain the role of the speech-language pathologist throughout the cancer care trajectory