After Treatment for a Mouth or Throat Tumor

Treatment for a tumor may change the way you speak, chew, or eat. If so, your health care team will show you new ways to do these important tasks. Family, friends, and other people you trust can also help you adjust.

Nutritionist holding fruit while talking with client.

Help with daily tasks

Surgery to remove a tumor may make simple tasks harder to do for a while. If needed, your therapists can help you relearn how to chew or swallow food. If you have a stoma or a feeding tube, your health care team will show you how to care for it. If you have dentures, you may need to get new ones. And you may need to practice moving muscles in your neck or face. Members of your health care team can help. If you need help at home, ask them about home nurses and health aides.

Help with speaking

If you have your larynx removed, it will change the way you speak. But you can learn to speak again. A speech pathologist can help you use one or more of the following:

  • An electrolarnyx, a device like a microphone that you hold up to your throat when you want to talk

  • Esophageal speech, which creates speech using air forced up from your esophagus

  • A voice prosthesis, a special valve placed inside your throat to help you speak. The procedure to place the valve is called a tracheoesophageal puncture (TEP).

Following up

In the future, you may need more exams, x-rays, tests, or treatment. Be sure to follow up with your health care team as directed. It’s also important to do what you can to improve your health. Talk with your health care team about what lies ahead.