Oncology-Related Communication Disorders



  • ACLC staff: prof. dr. Michiel van den Brekel, senior researcher, coordinator [also NKI/AVL], prof. dr. Olga Fischer, senior researcher, prof. dr. Frans Hilgers, senior researcher, [also NKI/AVL], dr. Rob van Son, senior researcher [also NKI/AVL], dr. Anne Bannink, senior researcher.
  • ACLC PhD candidates: Klaske van Sluis [also NKI/AVL], PhD candidate on Rob van Son’s and Lisette van der Molen’s project, September 2015, Manon van der Laaken, PhD candidate on Michiel van den Brekel’s project, September 2016.
  • External staff: dr. Lisette van der Molen, senior researcher [NKI/AVL], prof. dr. Jean-Pierre Martens, senior researcher [DSSP-ELIS Ghent University] dr. Cahterine Middag, senior researcher [DSSP-ELIS Ghent University], dr. Gwen van Nuffelen, senior researcher [Antwerp University Hospital].


One of the key aims of all research projects is to investigate if, and how, speakers learn to compensate for changes in speech and voice as a result of head and neck cancer. It is assumed that physiological limitations constraint certain communicative and language functions, which can impact language behaviour. All research has a clinical focus and there are strong ties between the ACLC and the Netherlands Cancer Institute-Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Hospital.There is extensive collaboration with the DSSP-ELIS at Ghent University and the Antwerp University Hospital. This research has four major branches:

  • Phonetics of oncology-related pathological speech
  • Automatic evaluation of oncology-related pathological speech (collaboration with Ghent University)
  • Tele-Health applications and tools for Speech and Language Therapists collaboration with Ghent University and Antwerp University Hospital)
  • Tools and resources for Speech Research and Speech and Language Therapists

Research projects

PhD projects:

  • Predicting substitute voice source characteristics after laryngectomy. Klaske van Sluis
  • Physician-Patient communication about quality of life in head and neck cancer consultations. Manon van der Laaken

Other projects

  • In collaboration with Gent University tools are developed to automatically quantify speech intelligibility and speech quality in patients after treatment. We collaborate with Twente University in the Virtual Therapy project (www.virtualtherapy.nl). As part of this research, we investigate articulatory speech synthesis as a tool to predict speech disorders before treatment starts. The department of Head- and Neck Oncology and Surgery currently receives an unrestricted research grant from Atos Medical (Hörby, Sweden).

Published by  ACLC

13 June 2018