Semin Speech Lang 2023; 44(01): 004-014
DOI: 10.1055/s-0042-1756682
Review Article

Speech-Language Pathology Services in Pediatric Cancer: Survey and Interview Data on Caregiver Experiences

Stephanie M. Knollhoff
1   Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Services, University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri
Breanna I. Krueger
2   Division of Communication Disorders, University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming
Caitlin M. Imgrund
3   Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, Florida
› Author Affiliations


Pediatric cancer and its treatment can cause disruption in typical child development, including the development of speech, language, and swallowing skills. Despite the potential for significant impact on communication and swallowing, speech-language pathologists are not routinely involved in the care teams of children diagnosed with cancer. The goal of this investigation was to enhance the understanding of the speech-language pathology services rendered and caregivers' perspectives on the current needs of children and adolescents who have undergone cancer treatment. Caregiver's perspectives offer unique insights and are beneficial when utilizing a person- and family-centered care framework. Eleven caregivers of children treated for cancer completed an online survey, and an additional three caregivers participated in a semistructured interview. Results provided insight into caregivers' perspectives regarding speech-language pathology-related needs and services. Survey results and thematic analysis of the semistructured interviews indicated the need for involvement of speech-language pathology services during and after cancer treatment. Cancer diagnoses and oncological treatment occur during key developmental periods, and may negatively impact children's speech, language, and swallowing abilities. Speech-language pathologists are uniquely positioned to provide support for children undergoing or following cancer treatment.

Publication History

Article published online:
17 January 2023

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