Vocal Cord Cancer

wtc1003 Member Posts: 1
edited February 2016 in Head and Neck Cancer #1

I was diagnosed with Stage I vocal cord cancer mid-2015. I had surgery to remove the nodule (squamous cell), and then 28 radiation treatments to the throat area to make sure there were no remaining cells. I am 7 months post radiation and cancer free. However, I am still having difficulty with my voice. There was a lot of vocal cord damage from the radiation; so, now, while I can speak clearly, my voice is pretty weak and my throat gets sore as the day wears on to the point that it is painful to talk. I'm just wondering if anyone has had a similar journey; and, if so, can you share with me how your vocal recovery has gone. I'm not sure whether it should take this long or not to get my voice back. It seems like it's taking longer than it should, but I don't really have anyone to ask other than my ENT who doesn't seem alarmed. Any feedback is appreciated.


  • denistd
    denistd Member Posts: 597
    Vocal cord cancer

    I would not worry too much about how long to full recovery, it will get better. I had stage 3 larynx cancer and had lost my voice before treatment. It started to return a few weeks after treatment, I had 35 radiation treatments and 3 chemo. That was in 2009, treatment ended in June of that year, 8 months later the voice was completely back. There is one part that did not return and that was my falsetto. I was a singer/musician and can sing fine now as long as I do not have to do any falsetto. No damage was done to my vocal cords and they responded well, so will yours. Denis

  • MrsBD
    MrsBD Member Posts: 617 Member

    It's been 16 months since my last radiation treatment for BOT cancer and when I open my mouth to speak, I never know what it will sound like. Usually it's fairly normal,  but there are times it's really old lady creaky or very quiet. It makes for interesting conversations with my hard-of-hearing hubby. I can only sing in about a four note range, so at church, I just sing in my head, and may I say, I sound amazing! My ENT said there is some vocal cord damage and he doesn't know if all the function will return. There are some things that have helped such as using a humidifier, staying hydrated, avoiding salty, very spicy or extreme temperature food. There are therapists who specialize in cases like ours too. It took about a year for my voice to get to the point where talking a lot didn't hurt, so it seems you are pretty normal.

  • Hondo
    Hondo Member Posts: 6,636 Member
    Hi wtc

    Welcome to the family here on CSN H&N, my cancer was a lot different so will let Denis and Bill give the info you are asking. Just remember a lot things might change now that treatment is over, stay around and keep asking it is the best way to learn.



  • wmc
    wmc Member Posts: 1,804
    Welcome to the H&N Group

    Welcome, and sorry you need to be here. Denis has some of the best advice for you. You were stage 1 which says it was cought very early. I always recomend for anyone with larnyx cancer to record your voice, for many reasons. You can hear improvements. If you did smoke, [I did] you have to quite now. Now you may never have smoked. If you have any acid reflux, tell your doctor as it is one of the causes of throat cancer. You might never get heartburn and still have it and it will affect vocal cords if it goes up th the Larynx. Mine does and is called LPR, that is when it goes farther up than GURD. If you do have this over the counter is not what you want. You need Rx to prevent damage. Remember that stomach acid when it flairs up it Stronger than Battery Acid. If you might have acid reflux do not sleep on your right side. Gravity will allow the acid to drain downwords to your throat. Only on the left where gravity will keep it from your throat. I would also sugest to watch on drinks that are acidic like orange juice for awhile so the vocal cords can heal. If you feel your voice straining ease up on volume and even less speaking helps it heal. Keep it well lubricated and sip water often through the day. I am no doctor, but due to other health issues I have, [damaged lungs with Severe COPD] I lost mine. But yours should and in time get so much better. Look at Denis, he can sing again. When I would sing, it hurt others ears and even family asked me not to. I was very bad and just could not hit a note, but would have loved to.


  • Grandmax4
    Grandmax4 Member Posts: 723

    My vocal cords were bowed during my surgery, via di vinci robot, that removed my epiglottis. My surgical team set me up with speech therepy about a month after surgery. It really helped bring my voice back, both in clearness and loudness. Sometimes, even now, 4 years 3 months out, my voice comes out really raspy and deep....ask about the therepy, my insurance covered it.