Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Name

Speech-Language Pathology

Department or School/College

Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders

Committee Chair

Laurie Slovarp

Commitee Members

Matt Bundle, Ginger Collins


swallowing function, pain, quality of life, chemoradiation therapy, head and neck cancer, prophylactic intervention, dysphagia


University of Montana


Many patients with head and neck cancer suffer from dysphagia caused by organ preserving regimens of chemoradiation therapy. However, intervention for this population varies in terms of timing, intensity, and types of treatments prescribed. This prospective study investigated swallowing-related quality of life, functional oral intake, and swallowing-related pain for patients who received two different types of preventative swallowing intervention before and during chemoradiation therapy. A total of eight participants who had undergone chemoradiation therapy participated in the study. Four participants completed direct swallowing exercises (exercises that require swallowing). The remaining four completed indirect swallowing exercises (exercises that do not require swallowing). There were no significant differences between groups for all outcome measures taken. These findings support the hypothesis that both programs were equally effective intervention methods. Due to these results and the high prevalence of odynophagia in this population, indirect swallowing exercises may cause the patient less pain than direct swallowing exercises while still sparing their swallowing function to the same degree as the direct regimen. However, due to the low census and lack of a control group, these findings should be interpreted with reasonable caution. Thus, further investigation with a larger sample size and comparator control data is warranted.



© Copyright 2014 Shanna Lee Stack