PhD student – Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Department of Human Structure and Repair – University of Ghent
PhD student – Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences – University of Antwerp
Principal investigators : dr. Fréderic Duprez (MD) (UGent) and prof. Gwen Van Nuffelen (MD) (UAntwerpen)
Swallowing disorders are common and widely reported after (chemo)radiotherapy for head and neck cancer patients and can persist for a long period of time. It involves muscle weakness and incoordination or timing issues what can lead to medical problems such as feeding-tube dependency, malnutrition and pneumonia. These consequences have a major negative impact on daily functioning and health-related quality of life and can even be life-threatening. In addition to the medical consequences, the social and psychological effects of swallowing problems should not be underestimated. It can lead to problems with self-image and depression. This stresses the importance of prevention, monitoring and management of this problem. Nowadays, there is no “gold-standard” in the assessment or treatment of swallowing disorders in head and neck cancer patients. An increasing number of studies, however, show that prophylactic swallowing exercises can have a significantly positive effect on the swallowing function. Unfortunately, low adherence rates are a key issue in undermining these positive effects and prevent clinical implementation of these exercises.
Our research team aims to develop the most efficient and feasible patient-supported swallowing program in which the adherence rates are maximized.
- ‘Very late xerostomia, dysphagia, and neck fibrosis after head and neck radiotherapy’. Head & Neck, 2019. (PMID: 31329343)
- ‘Study protocol for a randomized controlled trial: prophylactic swallowing exercises in head-and-neck cancer patients treated with (chemo) radiotherapy (PRESTO trial)’. Trials, 2020. (PMID: 32122397)
- ‘The effect of tongue‐strengthening exercises on tongue strength and swallowing‐related parameters in chronic radiation‐associated dysphagia’. Head & Neck, 2020. (PMID: 32352198)
Contact & links
- Lab address: campus UZ Gent, entrance 98, floor 1, Corneel Heymanslaan 10, 9000 Ghent, Belgium
- Margot Baudelet is interested to receive invitations for presentations or talks