Expired Study
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New York, New York 10029


The purpose of this study is to find out if doing prophylactic or preventative swallowing exercises from the start of cancer treatment can improve the ability to swallow when the treatment is completed and beyond.

Study summary:

Study Type: Prospective Randomized Clinical Trial Introduction: Organ sparing treatment for advanced head and neck cancer can affect the swallowing mechanism via fibrosis of the structures responsible for effective and efficient bolus movement from the oral cavity and through the pharynx into the esophagus. This fibrosis may result in significant impairment of bolus transport. Range of motion exercises for the swallowing structures may decrease the fibrotic effects of the radiation treatment and improve swallowing outcomes after treatment. Intervention: Patients who have been diagnosed with head and neck cancer and who will be receiving radiation therapy either with or without chemotherapy as cancer treatment will be randomized to one of two swallowing treatment protocols. The first protocol will include the initiation of intensive swallowing exercises to begin at the start of the cancer treatment. The second treatment protocol will include the standard of care which provides swallowing evaluation and treatment once symptoms of swallowing dysfunction are experienced by the patient. Patients will not be given a choice of swallowing protocol. Those patients randomized to the intensive therapy protocol will be required to participate in weekly swallowing therapy sessions either in person or over the phone and perform the learned swallowing exercises three times a day. In addition, these patients will document their swallowing practice on a daily basis. The same investigator will provide all the swallowing treatment assuring that all patients get the same treatment approach. All patients will fill out a questionnaire about their swallowing ability called the Performance Status Scale for Head and Neck Cancer Patients (PSS-H&N). This is a quick, clinician rated instrument consisting of three subscales: normalcy of diet, public eating and intelligibility of speech. This scale has been proven reliable across raters and sensitive to functional differences across a broad spectrum of head and neck cancer patients. This questionnaire will be completed at the start of the cancer treatment, at the completion of the treatment and at 3, 6, 12 and 24 months after treatment. In addition, the nature of the patient's oral intake will be documented by the investigator using the Functional Oral Intake Scale (FOIS) which is a seven point scale of diet tolerance. This will be performed at the same intervals as the PSS-H&N. Presence or absence of PEG feedings will also be documented at these same times. These scales will then be used to compare the swallowing outcomes of the patients in the two different treatment protocols.


Inclusion criteria: - Patient diagnosed with head and neck cancer who will be receiving radiation therapy either alone of with chemotherapy as their treatment modality. Exclusion criteria: - Patients with a history of neurologic disease - Patients with previous head and neck cancer or surgical or radiation treatment to the head and neck region - Patients taking medication that might effect their swallowing function - Patients with gastroenterologic dysfunction - Patients who have previously undergone swallowing therapy - Patients with cognitive impairments that limit their ability to follow and comply with multi-step commands



Primary Contact:

Principal Investigator
Tamar Kotz, MS, CCC, SLP
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Backup Contact:


Location Contact:

New York, New York 10029
United States

There is no listed contact information for this specific location.

Site Status: N/A

Data Source: ClinicalTrials.gov

Date Processed: August 31, 2019

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