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GROUNDBREAKING SWALLOWING THERAPY

Innovation and teamwork boost swallowing therapy after radiation for throat cancer. In 2004, Clinton “Buzz” McMannes had surgery at Lake Health to remove a grape-sized cancerous tumor in his throat. The tumor was on his epiglottis, the tissue that closes the airway to allow the safe swallowing of food and liquids. After 71 radiation treatments at Lake Health/University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center at the Lake Health Mentor Campus, Buzz was cancer free. Over the years, the effects of radiation took its toll on Buzz. His epiglottis began to function poorly

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and wouldn’t close properly. Food and liquids slipped into his airway and lungs, causing him to choke and cough with nearly every swallow. Even his neck muscles were affected. Eventually, he wasn’t able to eat comfortably because of his choking and coughing, and his treasured golf game suffered because he wasn’t able to turn his head. Then Buzz was referred to a Lake Health swallowing therapy program offered by senior speech and language pathologist Kim Janezic.

The plan In May 2017 at West Medical Center, Kim began Buzz’s therapy with x-ray imaging to evaluate his swallowing. Then Kim taught Buzz about his particular muscle weaknesses and proposed a program of exercise, state-of-the-art technology and innovative alternative therapy. Exercise and technology Kim taught Buzz home exercises for stretching and strengthening his tongue, throat and neck. During therapy sessions, she placed electrodes from a biofeedback Best of Health

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Best of Health - Winter 2019