The COVID-19 pandemic has put the health services sector under considerable strain, requiring huge amounts of time and medical staff and financial resources to manage it. Unfortunately, this inevitably reduces the availability of qualified and timely medical services for patients with other chronic diseases, including laryngeal cancer. Recently, there has been a significant increase in the number of patients presenting with delayed stages of laryngeal cancer. This may be related to a deterioration in the availability of medical services and the avoidance of timely referral by patients due to the fear of contracting COVID-19 infection in the treatment facilities. Late diagnosis of laryngeal cancer inevitably leads to significantly more complex treatment and poorer outcomes. Laryngeal cancer patients have to undergo major surgery to remove part or all of the larynx. Such surgery leaves the patient without the larynx, the main part of the vocal apparatus, and their vocal function is significantly impaired, if at all. The project proposes to address the impairment of health services for laryngeal cancer patients due to the COVID-19 pandemic by improving early diagnosis of laryngeal diseases, including laryngeal cancer, and by ensuring the effectiveness of voice rehabilitation after extended oncological laryngeal surgery.
This research project is funded by the European Regional Development Fund according to the 2014–2020 Operational Programme for the European Union Funds’ Investments, under measure’s No. 13.1.1-LMT-K-718 activity “Research Projects Implemented by World-class Researcher Groups to develop R&D activities relevant to economic sectors, which could later be commercialized”. Funded as part of the European Union’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic
The main outcome of the project is the development of AI-based algorithms for automated voice analysis and scrying, and for the monitoring of voice replacement in patients after laryngeal oncology surgery. The developed algorithms will be experimentally tested by developing a prototype device implementing the methods – VoiceHelpmate.
Period of project implementation: 2021-11-04 - 2023-11-30
Project coordinator: Lithuanian University of Health Sciences
Project partners: Kaunas University of Technology