Functional outcomes following treatment for advanced laryngeal cancer. Part I--Voice preservation in advanced laryngeal cancer. Part II--Laryngectomy rehabilitation: the state of the art in the VA System. Research Speech-Language Pathologists. Departme
Hillman RE. Walsh MJ. Wolf GT. Fisher SG. Hong WK.
Voice and Speech Laboratory, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Boston 02114, USA.
This two-part investigation assessed functional outcomes related to communication (including amount of speech therapy), swallowing and eating, and employment status for patients who received one of the two treatment modalities for advanced laryngeal cancer (stage III or IV laryngeal squamous cell carcinoma) in Veterans Administration Cooperative Study #268. One hundred sixty-six patients were randomized to primary surgery (laryngectomy) and radiotherapy (RT), and 166 to induction chemotherapy (CT) and RT. The first investigation dealt with examining and comparing functional outcomes for patients in the two treatment arms of the main study. Results showed clearly that patients with advanced laryngeal cancer are better off from the standpoint of speech communication if they can be treated for this disease without removal of the larynx. In contrast, there were few significant differences between patient groups for other non-speech-related measures. The second investigation focused on communication-related outcomes associated with the rehabilitation of total laryngectomy patients. Results revealed that only relatively small percentages of total laryngectomy patients (6%) developed usable esophageal speech or remained nonvocal (8%), and that a majority of patients ended up as users of artificial electrolarynx (55%) or tracheoesophageal (31%) speech. The results from both investigations are discussed with respect to factors that can influence the rehabilitation process and long-term outcome status of patients who are treated for advanced laryngeal cancer with these two strategies.