Thesis defense Klaske van Sluis

Total laryngectomy – Exploring voice outcomes and functional issues

"As a speech therapist at the NKI, I work with people who have trouble speaking or swallowing as a result of cancer. I help people with cancer in the throat relearn how to speak after the removal of their larynx. They have lost their own voice and will need to breathe through a hole in their necks. These people often find it hard to imagine how drastic this change will be. They want to survive. I looked into the information these patients receive before their treatment and my research showed that contact with someone with lived experience worked especially well to prepare them for life after the procedure – even more than a technical explanation provided by a physician. After surgery, these patients will have to go through an intense rehabilitation process. We want to help people get as much of their lives back as possible. Some people make more progress in relearning to speak than others. I always recommend other speech therapists to structurally log how speech develops in these people. That can help us learn to predict what kind of shape someone will be in after their surgery.” Klaske will defend her thesis on December 16.


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