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School and Program Updates

School and Program Updates

Florida Researchers are Conducting Ongoing Studies on the Prevention of Swallowing Difficulties in Patients with Head and Neck Cancer

Recent patient-focused research has indicated that swallowing problems are among the highest priorities for patients treated for head and neck cancer. University of Florida Swallowing Research Laboratory investigators led by Dr. Michael Crary, a professor in the department of speech, language, and hearing sciences, and Dr. Giselle Carnaby, an associate professor in the department of behavioral science and community health, seek to prevent or reduce the frequency and impact of swallowing disorders in this high-risk population. Funded research over the past decade has addressed exercises to prevent dysphagia as well as the identification of co-morbid features that contribute to the development of dysphagia. Two completed clinical trials have demonstrated that swallowing exercises completed simultaneously with radiotherapy can reduce the frequency and intensity of dysphagia and related oral complications after medical treatment. In addition, patients can learn to complete these exercises on their own with minimal professional guidance.