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Larkel allows cancer victims take to water

Reporter: Jennifer Hollamby
Date online: 27 April 2009

THROAT cancer patients with laryngectomies will be able to take to the water at Oldham baths thanks to a unique new snorkel-like device.

The Oldham Quiet Ones, a support group for people with throat cancer, is running monthly swimming sessions at the pool with the help of the innovative new larkel device. During a larygnectomy, a patient’s voice box is removed, their airway is separated from the mouth, nose and oesophagus and an opening in the neck called a stoma is inserted to allow patients to breathe.

This means that simple activities like swimming are often beyond the reach of patients, as they have to be careful not to let water get into the stoma.

But that’s all set to change, thanks to the larkel, a snorkel-like tool which attaches via the stoma.

The swimming sessions started after a £5,000 grant from the Big Lottery Fund paid for vital equipment including larkels.

Speech and language therapist Janice Lang, who founded the Quiet Ones and runs the swimming club, said: “A lot of pools won’t let people with laryngectomies in, they’re not happy to have a high risk group of people in the water, but Oldham Leisure Centre were brilliant, they said we could have a private session once a month and we did special resuscitation training for their staff.”

Ian Kendall, of Oldham Community Leisure said: “We pride ourselves on our ability to make a difference to the whole community — we have a full programme of activities for people in specialist populations and this is just one example of a whole host of activities we offer.”

 

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