Cancer and its treatment may affect communication with others in some ways. Surgery for head and neck cancers may remove affected speech organs such as the tongue or larynx. Brain tumours may impair production or comprehension of speech and make reading and writing difficult.
Many jobs require the ability to communicate and any impairment of this ability may significantly impact work roles and relationships.
What patients can do
Rehabilitation may improve or restore functional abilities. A speech-language pathologist can recommend strategies to help patients and their families communicate with one another as well as possible. The patient’s healthcare team may have other advice.
There are several ways that jobs can be modified to accommodate impaired communication abilities:
- Communicate through instant-messaging or a chat program instead of by telephone or in person.
- Use alternate technology or ways to present information such as webinars, text-to-talk technology, videos or written information.
- Arrange a consultation with a speech therapist to explore alternate communication devices for use in the workplace.