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Speech and Language Therapy

The Role of Speech and Language Therapists

The Speech and Language Therapy (SLT) team specialise in assessing, diagnosing and treating patients who have communication or swallowing problems as a result of cancer.

The difficulties may be due to the site of disease or disease spread, changes following surgery or due to the side effects of treatment.

The overall aim of the SLT team is to maximise communication and swallowing function.

  • Location

    There are SLT services available across the Belfast Trust hospitals.

    SLT services are available in the Cancer Centre, Belfast City Hospital for:

    • Inpatients (in Cancer Centre & also in 10N, Tower Block, Belfast City Hospital)
    • Outpatients (in Cancer Centre and Bridgewater Suite)

    SLT services are also available for patients with head and neck cancer on Ward 29 in the Royal Victoria Hospital.

    The majority of cancer patients seen by Speech and Language Therapists have a diagnosis of head and neck cancer.

  • Referral

    Referral to Speech and Language Therapy may be necessary if the disease and/or its treatment results in the following:


    • Difficulties understanding or using language
    • Speech is slurred and difficult to decipher
    • Voice is sometimes or always hoarse


    • Eating or drinking causes choking or coughing
    • Food/drink feels as though it is going the wrong way
    • Food/drink has been coughed up after eating
    • Food gets stuck and needs several swallows before it clears
    • Certain foods are now more difficult to swallow or are avoided altogether
    • Food or liquid comes down the nose
    • Chewing is difficult due to jaw stiffness

    Patients can ask any member of the healthcare team to refer them to SLT for assessment or contact SLT directly.


Telephone: 02895048367

If no one is available to take your call please leave a message on our answering machine and our secretary will contact you as soon as possible.

Speech and Language Therapy Department
Level 1 Cancer Centre
Belfast City Hospital
Lisburn Road