The Laryngectomee society is a voluntary self-help rehabilitation group of cancer survivors who have undergone surgery for the removal of their larynx (voice box) as treatment for cancer of the throat. Patients undergoing laryngectomy have to cope with numerous physical, functional, social and psychological changes, in additional to the loss of normal speech. The laryngectomee society helps patients to overcome these drawbacks by interacting not only with the medical and para-medical personnel, but also with other fellow patients with similar concerns and their care-givers. Patients and their family members give and receive encouragement to each other to cope up with their unique needs under the supervision of the rehabilitation team.
One of the major focuses of the rehabilitation team is speech rehabilitation and the team has successfully managed to provide nearly 90% of the patients with intelligible speech. The society not only provides voice restoration to these patients, but is also involved in their physical, social, vocational and psychological rehabilitation too.
The Society which was started in 1999 has now become a role model for a self-help group initiative in cancer rehabilitation. The society meets on the 2nd Saturday of every month at 11 a.m. at the Apollo cancer institute.
For more information about the laryngectomee society, contact Ms. Kumari +91 8500198869 (or) attend monthly meeting at Apollo Cancer Institute.
Dr. Shobana Sekhar, Dr. Umanath Nayak, Dr. Rahul B. Department of Head & Neck Oncology, Apollo Cancer Hospital, Hyderabad
Aims and objectives:
To determine if a voluntary self-help group initiative of laryngectomees can have a social and psychological impact in improving their quality of life.
Fifty laryngectomy patients were administered the University of Washington Quality of Life Questionnaire, Version 4 (UW-QoLv4). The laryngectomees were divided into 2 groups; those who participated in the activities of ‘The Laryngectomee Society’ – a voluntary self-help group started by the laryngectomees for the purpose of their rehabilitation (Group A) and those who did not participate in the society’s activities for various reasons (Group B).
No significant difference was found between Group A & B with regard to the overall Composite score (average score of all 12 domains), in the score for overall quality of life or in the sub-scale score attributes of physical health. However, when the Social-Emotional sub-scale score (average score of 6 Domains – anxiety, mood, pain, activity, recreation, shoulder function; Rogers SN, 2010) was compared between the 2 groups, it was observed that Group A showed a significantly higher score with an average of 97.50 ± 4.08 when compared to Group B which showed an average score of 87.78 ± 9.54.
A voluntary self-help group initiative can have a significant impact on the social and emotional well being of laryngectomees and The Laryngectomee Society can serve as a role model for improving the quality of life of cancer survivors, though further studies in a larger group of patients are needed to validate this.