Speech and language therapy and proton beam therapy

Speech and language therapists (SALTs) specialise in swallowing and communication disorders.

The SALT team at The Christie assess adults with these types of problems. They can also provide treatment, advice and support.

You may be referred to SALT before, during or after your treatment.

What the team can do to help:

  • Provide information on how your swallow function is likely to change due to the treatment you will be undergoing and how SALT can support you through this.
  • Provide swallowing exercises to all patients who will be having proton beam therapy treatment to the head and neck. This is to reduce the effects of the treatment on the ability to eat and drink, and to achieve the best possible long-term swallow function.
  • Provide strategies and techniques to make swallowing food and drink easier and safer. Your cancer treatment can make you more at risk of food and drink “going down the wrong way”. SALT can assess your swallow function and make recommendations on how to eat and drink as safely as possible.
  • Carry out instrumental swallow assessments if necessary. For example, SALT can do this by doing an X-ray of your swallow function (a videofluoroscopy) or observing your swallow function via a thin scope that is passed through your nose (a FEES).
  • Advise on strategies to help make communication easier and more effective.
  • Advise on ways of looking after and getting the best from your voice.
  • Provide communication aids when speech is difficult.

Last updated: February 2023