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Predictors of Speech Quality after Tongue Cancer Surgery

Faculty 

Funding Agency 

National Institutes of Health: National Cancer Institute

Description 

Professor Carol Espy-Wilson is a co-PI for an NIH grant from the National Cancer Institute's Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences (DCCPS) for "Predictors of Speech Quality after Tongue Cancer Surgery." Prof. Espy-Wilson's portion of the five-year, $2.8 million grant is $422,761. Tongue cancer surgery is a life saving procedure, but it typically leaves patients physically and mentally damaged, with speech communication difficulties that are in play every day. This research will improve the speech outcome of tongue cancer surgery by minimizing the impact of the tongue reconstruction and understanding the contributions of patient and surgical factors, so patients can communicate more clearly and confidently. Espy-Wilson will develop 3-D vocal tract models based on cine-MRI data to perform acoustic analysis of patients' speech signals to understand the effects of the tongue surgery on speech quality. The ultimate goal is to develop a procedure to help surgeons choose the best placement of a flap of tissue that is taken from elsewhere in the body to replace the removed cancerous tissue to maximize patients' speech quality.