More than 300 cancer survivors, friends, family and medical personnel are expected to attend the annual meeting of the International Association of Laryngectomees, hosted by the New Voice Club of the Niagara Frontier, now through June 29 at the Adam's Mark Hotel in Buffalo.
The meeting is designed to offer encouragement to laryngectomees, share information on resources and to socialize. Laryngectomees are individuals whose larynx (voice box) has been removed, most often due to cancer. They learn to speak with air coming from the esophagus, an external device or an implanted prosthesis.
"We are honored to celebrate the survival of laryngectomees from around the world at this annual event," said Carl DePalma, president of the New Voice Club of the Niagara Frontier. "We assemble so that other cancer survivors and caregivers can freely discuss quality of life issues associated with this type of surgery, share experiences, and learn how to live better with their new voices."
"Life after a laryngectomy is challenging," added Wade Hampton, IAL President. "The IAL works closely with physicians, speech pathologists and other health professionals to help our members and their families return to a near normal life. By coming together and sharing our resources and stories, we help each other and offer inspiration to cancer survivors everywhere."
A full schedule of meetings and activities are planned for the convention. Highlights include:
•Wednesday, June 25, 10:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. - "Introduction to Electrolarynx, Esophageal Speech and Tracheoesophageal Speech" is designed to help patients learn how to better speak after surgery.
•Thursday, June 26, 9:45 to 10:45 a.m. - Jan Lewin, Ph.D., MD Anderson Cancer Center, will present the IAL keynote address. Lewin is a national and international authority on the restoration of speech and swallowing function in patients with head and neck cancer.
•Friday, June 27, 9 to 10:30 a.m. - "Spouse Rap" is an opportunity for family members to share caretaker techniques with one another.
•Saturday, June 28, 6:30 to 11 p.m. - Auction, dinner and dance featuring the Marcels, who specialize in 1950s doo-wop music.
"The IAL meeting offers newly laryngectomized individuals and their families the opportunity to learn about new products and techniques that can help them improve their communication to be able to enjoy a preferred quality of life," said Jodi K. Knott, MS, CCC-SLP, director of the Voice Institute, and a speech pathologist at MD Anderson Cancer Center. "It is also a fun atmosphere that reunites old friends and facilitates new friendships. Expert clinicians welcome questions regarding health, lifestyle and speech alternatives."
The IAL conference is sponsored by Atos Medical; Boston Medical Products; Bruce Medical Supply; Ceredas; InHealth Technologies; Lauder Enterprises; Luminaud Inc.; Griffin Laboratories Inc.; Servona; and ROMET Electronic Larynx.
The New Voice Club of the Niagara Frontier, established in 1962, is a not-for-profit community support group for laryngectomees and head and neck cancer survivors. Supported by the American Cancer Society, the organization offers meetings, activities and shared information for those who have lost their larynx, oral structures and/or head and neck functions due to cancer. View their video stories on YouTube.
For more information, visit the New Voice Club website.