So, let’s say you are a medical SLP. You get an order for a new patient with a recent diagnosis of head and neck cancer. You have never worked with head and neck cancer, so you just really aren’t sure what to do.
Not that you will learn EVERYTHING you need to know, but you most certainly can learn a lot of background knowledge from a course.
Medbridge actually has a 2-part course on head and neck cancer by Kate Hutcheson. The first part is called Radiation Associated Dysphagia (RAD) Part 1: Etiology and Toxicity.
This is such a great review of complications arising from radiation therapy including:
- odynophagia (pain with swallowing)
- xerostomia (dry mouth)
- mucosal damage/irritation or mucositis
Tumors are staged using 3 factors:
Tumor (T) indicating the size of the tumor or the extent of the involvement:
- TX: The primary tumor cannot be assessed
- T0: No evidence of primary tumor
- T1: Les than or 2 cm in the greatest dimension
- T2: More than 2 cm and less than 4 cm in the greatest dimension
- T3: More than 4 cm in the greater dimension
- T4: Invades any adjacent structures
Nodal Status (N) this is an important predictor of patient survival
- NX: Regional lymph nodes cannot be assessed
- N0: No regional nymph nodes
- N1: Single ipsilateral node, less than or equal to 3 cm
- N2a-c: Single ipsilateral node 3-6 cm or multiple nodes at less than 6 cm
- N3: Greater than 6 cm single or multiple ipsilateral nodes
Metastases (M) Rare at presentation but is typically lung
- MX: Distant metastases cannot be assessed
- M0: No distant metastases
- M1: Distant Metastases
If you work with or think about working with the head and neck cancer population, you definitely want to take a look at this course.
You don’t currently have a subscription with Medbridge? Not a problem! We have you covered!! For $95 a year, you can have access to this course and many other great courses covering a wide variety of SLP-related topics.
Go here to sign up today!!
Use the code DysphagiaRamblings at checkout! (I do make a small amount of money for each person that signs up under me, however this all goes right back into the blog!)