Speech and swallowing are important components of health-related quality of life following head and neck cancer treatment. The aim of this study was to demonstrate the value of prospective multi-centre evaluation by Speech and Language Therapists and to compare health-related quality of life with speech and swallowing impairments. The University of Washington Head and Neck questionnaire version 4 (UW-QOL) and Therapy Outcome Measures (TOM) were rated before and 6 months after cancer treatment in 95 patients from 12 centres. There was deterioration in TOM scores at 6 months. Pretreatment UW-QOL swallowing was ranked equal first, with speech fourth. At 6 months speech was first and swallowing second. There were positive correlations between UW-QOL swallowing and TOM dysphagia and between UW-QOL speech and TOM laryngectomy, voice, phonology and dysarthria disorders. Both outcome measures are suitable for routine practice. Adaptation of TOM scales for use with head and neck cancer patients may improve sensitivity, validity and therapist compliance.
Radford, K., Woods, H., Lowe, D., & Rogers, S. (2004). A UK multi-centre pilot study of speech and swallowing outcomes following head and neck cancer. Clinical Otolaryngology & Allied Sciences, 29(4), 376-381. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2273.2004.00823.x