Swallowing and eating

Swallowing difficulties after head and neck cancer present a significant barrier from returning to everyday life.

Whether you no longer feel comfortable eating in front of others, or cannot take in sufficient food due to pain, the inability to swallow can have an impact on your quality of life. Speech language pathologists and other professionals can assess your ability to swallow safely and effectively and prescribe modified diets or exercises. Studies show that performing swallowing exercises before and during treatment can help reduce and/or prevent swallowing difficulties.

Resources for rehabilitation of swallowing and eatingSwallowing

Find help with swallowing and eating therapy

  • Use our “Find a program or therapist” guide to locate a speech language pathologist knowledgeable in head and neck cancer
  • Visit the Ontario Association of Speech Language Pathologists and Audiologists to locate a clinician
  • Swallowing Clinic at Toronto Western Hospital (University Health Network patients only)
  • Supportive Care Clinic at Odette Cancer Centre (Sunnybrook patients only)
  • “Jaw-dropping” Trismus class
    A class for head and neck patients of University Health Network to go through exercises and strategies to increase mouth opening. You will also learn more about the Thera-bite device. Held approximately every 3 months. Call 416-340-4406 at to register.