The Value of Qualitative Research in Dysphagia in the Head and Neck Cancer Population: What Can We Learn From the Survivors' Perspective? Dysphagia is a common acute and long-term side effect of curative, non-surgical treatment for head and neck cancer (HNC). Despite what is known about dysphagia associated with HNC treatment in terms of its prevalence, severity, physiological characteristics, and the associated effects on quality of life (QoL), our understanding of the ... Article
Article  |   June 2015
The Value of Qualitative Research in Dysphagia in the Head and Neck Cancer Population: What Can We Learn From the Survivors' Perspective?
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Rebecca Nund
    School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
    Centre for Functioning and Health Research, Metro South Hospital and Health Service, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
  • Elizabeth Ward
    School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
    Centre for Functioning and Health Research, Metro South Hospital and Health Service, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
  • Nerina Scarinci
    School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
  • Bena Cartmill
    Centre for Functioning and Health Research, Metro South Hospital and Health Service, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
    Department of Speech Pathology, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
  • Financial Disclosure: Rebecca Nund is lecturer in speech pathology at The University of Queensland and an affiliate of the Centre for Functioning and Health Research. Elizabeth Ward is professor of the Centre for Functioning and Health Research and conjoint professor at The University of Queensland. Nerina Scarinci is senior lecturer in speech pathology at The University of Queensland. Bena Cartmill is postdoctoral researcher at the Centre for Functioning and Health Research and speech pathologist advanced (Oncology) at Princess Alexandra Hospital.
    Financial Disclosure: Rebecca Nund is lecturer in speech pathology at The University of Queensland and an affiliate of the Centre for Functioning and Health Research. Elizabeth Ward is professor of the Centre for Functioning and Health Research and conjoint professor at The University of Queensland. Nerina Scarinci is senior lecturer in speech pathology at The University of Queensland. Bena Cartmill is postdoctoral researcher at the Centre for Functioning and Health Research and speech pathologist advanced (Oncology) at Princess Alexandra Hospital.×
  • Nonfinancial Disclosure: Rebecca Nund has previously published in the subject area. Elizabeth Ward has previously published in the subject area. Nerina Scarinci has previously published in the subject area. Bena Cartmill has previously published in the subject area.
    Nonfinancial Disclosure: Rebecca Nund has previously published in the subject area. Elizabeth Ward has previously published in the subject area. Nerina Scarinci has previously published in the subject area. Bena Cartmill has previously published in the subject area.×
Article Information
Swallowing, Dysphagia & Feeding Disorders / Special Populations / Articles
Article   |   June 2015
The Value of Qualitative Research in Dysphagia in the Head and Neck Cancer Population: What Can We Learn From the Survivors' Perspective?
SIG 13 Perspectives on Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders (Dysphagia), June 2015, Vol. 24, 99-106. doi:10.1044/sasd24.3.99
History: Received December 14, 2014 , Revised February 22, 2015 , Accepted March 20, 2015
SIG 13 Perspectives on Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders (Dysphagia), June 2015, Vol. 24, 99-106. doi:10.1044/sasd24.3.99
History: Received December 14, 2014; Revised February 22, 2015; Accepted March 20, 2015

Dysphagia is a common acute and long-term side effect of curative, non-surgical treatment for head and neck cancer (HNC). Despite what is known about dysphagia associated with HNC treatment in terms of its prevalence, severity, physiological characteristics, and the associated effects on quality of life (QoL), our understanding of the key factors which impact on HNC survivors is only just emerging. Whilst quantitative research studies have demonstrated that most people experience dysphagia in the early post-treatment period, and that many people continue to have ongoing swallowing issues for months and years following treatment, emerging qualitative research in this field has provided insights into the extent to which the presence of dysphagia impacts on the everyday lives of people with HNC. By exploring issues from the perspectives of people living with dysphagia, qualitative research has highlighted those factors that have the greatest impact on oral intake, raised issues for service provision, and highlighted the need for additional professional involvement and better long term supportive care.

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