Assessment of Dysphagia for Head, Neck, and Oral Cancer (HNOC)

Tamatha Rutherford, MCD, CCC-SLP

Assessment of Dysphagia for Head, Neck, and Oral Cancer (HNOC)

CE Information


Course Brochure

Contains CE information for additional professionals

Course Highlights

  • Head, neck, and oral cancer sites of lesion, types of cancers, and staging
  • Medical management options including surgical resections, reconstructions, radiation, chemotherapy, radiation/chemo concomitant, and use of PEG tubes on the swallowing mechanism
  • Confidently assess dysphagia in the head, neck, and oral cancer population utilizing informal and standardized assessment tools
  • Instrumental assessments: limitations, expectations, and impact on the plan of care

Additional Info

Management of the head, neck, and oral cancer (HNOC)population can be daunting to even the seasoned clinicians. In the United States, about 3% of all cancers are HNOC,annually it affects approximately 63,000 Americans (Jemal, Siegel, Xu, & Ward, 2010; Siegel, Miller, & Jemal, 2017). A dramatic increase has been found within the younger male population due to the rise in Human Papilloma Virus (HPV+). In a 2008-2012 U.S. surveillance report (Viens et al., 2016), yearly approximately 15,738 HPV+ HNOC were diagnosed, the median age of diagnosis was < 60-years-old and mostpredominantly males. (Spence, 2016) Improvements in medical management of these cancers have resulted in better long term survival rates, however, the treatmentmodalities in and of themselves can often cause long term complications and ever-changing swallowing function. (Lazarus et al., 2014). This course provides a better understanding of the impact of the cancer type, stage, location, and the medical managements impact on the swallowing mechanism. Participants will also learn the assessment tools that are available to assist in developmentof a plan of care and the informal measures that can aid development of a patient specificity.

This workshop will improve confidence in assessing the dysphagia needs of the head, neck, and oral cancer population with evidence-based practice, standardized assessment tools, and informal measures, which canpositively impact clinical decision making in this highly diverseand challenging population.

[ASHA:Intermediate level, Professional Area]
  1. Apply information for site of lesion, staging, and medical management to the swallowing mechanism for effective assessment.
  2. Integrate evidence-based standardized tools,instrumental assessments, and complete informal observations/reporting to develop a patient specific plan ofcare.
  1. Incidence, Prevalence, and Epidemiology
    1. Typical cancers
    2. Incidence and prevalence
    3. Site of lesion or tumors
  2. Effective Medical Evaluation
    1. Diagnostics completed for staging: CT scans, MRI, PET
    2. TNM staging
  3. Overview of Medical Management
    1. Surgical: Neck dissections, tumor resections,reconstructions
    2. Radiation (XRT)
    3. Chemotherapy/radiation combined (CCRT)
    4. Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastronomy (PEG)tube
  4. Assessment by Speech-Language Pathologist
    1. Total Dysphagia Risk Score (TDRS)
    2. Functional Oral Intake Scale (FOIS/EAT-10)
    3. Mann Assessment of Swallowing Ability (MASA-C)
    4. Temporal Mandibular Joint (TMJ) Range of Motion (ROM)
    5. Lingual ROM
    6. Instrument assessments: Modified Barium Swallow Studies (MBSS) and Fiber-optic Endoscopic Evaluation ofSwallowing (FEES)
    7. Manual assessment

Tamatha Rutherford, MCD, CCC-SLP, graduated from Auburn University in 1992 with a master's degree and has been practicing primarily in the adult population since that time. She has worked in all settings: home health, outpatient clinic, inpatient acute care, inpatient rehabilitation, and now in private practice. Mrs. Rutherford is the owner and operator of Swallowing Specialists of Central Ga, LLC since 2018. She has provided clinical instruction for graduate externships as well as served as a supervisor for many clinical fellows. She has developed and supervised clinical competencies for Adult Diagnostics, Treatments, MBSS and FEES evaluations in the acute care, inpatient rehabilitation, and outpatient settings. She is a resource peer reviewer and a resource developer for the MedSLP collective. She currently holds the charter for the SPOHNC Support Group in the Macon, Georgia area, Out of the Mask, and is a member of the Foundation for Swallowing Disorders.

Mrs. Rutherford has lectured for multidisciplinary audiences within brain injury, dysphagia, communication, and cognitive impairments as it related to other rehabilitation disciplines. Mrs. Rutherford currently specializes in HNOC management in a private practice setting. She currently holds certifications in MBSImP and is LSVT Certified and has experience and training with HNOC lymphedema management. She continues to maintain practice privileges at an acute care hospital, provides lunch and learning opportunities for the speech language pathology departments, and consults for complicated cases within the acute care and inpatient rehabilitation setting. She provides lectures to medical residents from Mercer University during their placement in the acute care hospital as well as training with specific residents placed with Gastroenterology within an outpatient clinic.


FINANCIAL: Tamatha Rutherford is compensated by Summit as an instructor. She is the owner of Swallowing Specialists of Central Ga, LLC. She receives review fees as a resource peer reviewer and a resource developer for the MedSLP collective.

NONFINANCIAL: Tamatha Rutherford voluntarily holds the charter for the Macon, GA chapter of Support for People with Oral and Head and Neck Cancer (SPOHNC) named "Out of the Mask" and she is a member of the Foundation for Swallowing Disorders.

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Content Level: Intermediate

ASHA CE Information

ASHA Continuing Education

Summit Professional Education

Intermediate Level

ASHA CE Provider approval and use of the Brand Block does not imply endorsement of course content, specific products or clinical procedures.

SATISFACTORY COMPLETION: Participants must register, pay tuition fee, sign in with a mobile device via scanning electronic QR code at workshop location, attend the entire workshop, complete an electronic evaluation, as well as any other required state-specific supplements (if applicable) and sign out with a mobile device via scanning electronic QR code in order to receive a certificate of completion. Participants not fulfilling these requirements will not receive a certificate. Failure to sign in or out and complete a course evaluation will result in forfeiture of credit for the entire workshop. No exceptions will be made. Partial credit is not available.

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Continuing Education Credit FAQs

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Online course completions are reported to ASHA following the below schedule:

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Summit offers CE Broker reporting on behalf of FL PTs, OTs, SLPs and ATCs as well as for AL OTs, OH SLPs, SC PTs, OTs and SLPs. Licensees in states/professions outside of these listed should self-report at using the information provided on the certificate of completion. More information can be found here.

Online Course Content FAQs

Is an outline of the course content available before or during viewing?

You can see a course outline on the Product page under the Course Outline tab. After purchase, the course outline is also provided on the media player for watching the course.

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Manual is located in the "Resources" tab

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Online Video Experience

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Can I complete the course over several days? How much time do I have to finish the course?

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The video that you will be watching is a recorded version of a live workshop. The video captures Instructor answers to participant questions, but there is no opportunity for you to ask questions with the instructor, real time. If you do have questions for the instructor, most instructors have their email address at the end of their presentations.

Am I able to re-watch the online courses even after I have completed the post course test and received my certificate?

Once you purchase the online workshop, you have 30 days to view the workshop as many times as you want as well as to review the manual (if you choose not to download while taking the course). For subscribers, your access is unlimited while your subscription is active.

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Test & Certificate

Will I need to take a post course test? Why?

Yes, you are required to successfully pass the post course test to obtain CE credits and certification. This is required by our licensing boards for online courses.

What is the post course test like, what is a passing score, and how many times can I take it?

Post course tests consist of True/False and/or multiple choice questions. You will be able to retake the post course test as many time as necessary to receive a passing grade. A passing "grade" is 75% or higher for general content, 80% or higher for certain state specific workshops, like ethics, jurisprudence, and laws and rules courses. You will be able to retake the post course test as many times as necessary to receive a passing grade.

When will I receive my credits and certificate?

Once you complete your course evaluation and online test, you will be able to immediately download your certificate and request CE Broker or ASHA Reporting (if applicable).

Technical FAQs

What browsers and Operating system do I need to run for this to work properly?

The following are the supported browsers and Operating Systems for the media player to work properly:

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Will the media player work on both a Mac and PC?

Yes, the online courses will play on both a Mac and PC. The following are the supported browsers and Operating Systems for the media player to work properly:

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Can the workshops be played on my phone?

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