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Hoarse Voice - How Long Does It Last? - Really Got Scared Today

Posts: 213
Joined: Feb 2013

I am four months and about two weeks out form my last radiation and chemo.  My voice is hoarse and started getting that way about a month after treatment stopped.  It is not really getting any better.  Mouth is very dry I think like most of us.  Had a check up with my oncologist and he said, almost in passing, it could be a tumor and only after I left his office did it scare me really badly.

There are times during the day when I am not a hoarse, but no time when I am not at least somewhat hoarse.

Did any of you get hoarse a month or so after treatment as a side effect and were/are stil hoarse 4 + months out?

I have an ENT appointment on May 1, but the oncologist almost passing remark really worried me.


Skiffin16's picture
Posts: 8292
Joined: Sep 2009

Well, my ENT was and still is my main man on my team...still after four years.

I think your onco must be a bit of a butt-hole or totally doesn't get saying something like that to you after H&N Cancer...

Many here have had bouts of hoarseness and voice loss..., no so much continuos though... My ENT has an open door policy..., always etelling me to come in. If nothing else for a confidense booster...

More than likely you still just have damage from all of the treatment and eventually will get improved.



Grandmax4's picture
Posts: 712
Joined: Dec 2011

have radiation or chemo, had radial neck dissection removal of epiglottis and lymph nodes. My voice for almost 6 months was very soft and raspy, no one could understand me when I answered the phone, I went to speech therepy, my vocal cords were bowed, 4 sessions of therepy and faithfully doing the exercises they taught, brought my voice back loud and clear...my surgeon and his team were amazed. I still do the exercises, taking nothing for granted. Your Onc needs to learn some manners, he/she would have never gotten out of the room til that statement was explained.

debbiejeanne's picture
Posts: 3095
Joined: Jan 2010

grandmax4, can u please enlarge ur font when u post?  its extremely hard to read ur posts.  it could just be me eyesight...lol.  thank u n advance.


peggylulu's picture
Posts: 375
Joined: Dec 2012

I have a hard time reading her posts also , thought it was just me ! So I didn't say anything . I do enjoy her posts .


debbiejeanne's picture
Posts: 3095
Joined: Jan 2010

i enjoy them too.  they'll be more enjoyable when thry're easier to read.  glad it wasn't just my tired eyes...lol.


peggylulu's picture
Posts: 375
Joined: Dec 2012

Hobbs , I lost my voice towards the end of Rads tx during the worst of mucus and gagging for about two weeks and I have been hoarse ever since. My PCP thought it was from GERD which I have had for years . I'm almost six months out of tx. I am hoarse all the time sometimes better than others but always hoarse. I had a PET yesterday so maybe I will know soon whats going on but my Onc. just keeps telling me it is all from the tx. Your oncologist's passing remark worry's me too, but I think the same thing about him as John ! Hope this helps you to worry less.


fishmanpa's picture
Posts: 1218
Joined: Jan 2013

I lost my voice this past week. Between the rads and the mucous and the coughing, gagging, hacking etc... my voice is shot. My team says it will recover just like everything else. I'm not concerned at this point. 


CivilMatt's picture
Posts: 4373
Joined: May 2012


HobbsDooggy (like the name),


What is your onc, a dark humor comedian? What a stupid  thing to say in passing, you should have kicked him in the nuts and seen how funny that was.  Enough wasted time.


I had hoarseness off and on for maybe 6 months (maybe more maybe less) and I still get tired of talking, but my voice is better.  It is most likely the rad.  My throat is different then it was, it doesn’t feel as flexible.


Your voice should get better with time, if not check it out with reputable professionals.




Posts: 213
Joined: Feb 2013

Ya it was a very strange thing to say later Friday afternoon.  However not out of character for him.  As you can guess a very poor bedeside manner.  If he was really worried he should have gotten me in to see ENT Monday morning or at least first part of next week.  I don't think doctors sometimes realize the impact they have and while they don't mean to be jerks can be sometimes.

If it was not for you guys and this discussion board I think I would be very confused and depressed, certianlly more than I am normally :)  Again cannot tell all of you how much you help me and many others.

NJShore's picture
Posts: 423
Joined: Nov 2012


I have been know to be a bull in a china shop, although I'd like to think only when warranted :)

Pardon me but I agree with someone else who will never be nameless ;) but your Dr. is an arse.

Dan's RO told him the pain in his mouth and tongue that prevents him from eating bigger portions at one time - she said, "your pain is subjective". My mouth dropped, and I almost fired her right there.. but I stopped myself, knowing this should at least be discussed with Dan before saying what I really think.

Then after we got his PET Scan back, it shows highlighted areas exactly where he is complaining about, where it is sore... imagine that.. -- he didn't! So I am printing screen prints of his results in beautiful colorful detail, and we have decided to let her charge his insurance another $500, so we can show her the photos of the soreness, that she said doesn't exist.

I will not forget to remind her, exactly how much she has charged him in office fees during his treatment, and remnid her who the customer is. We might need the drs., but there are always others who are just as good, who have a bit more professional polish. This woman proved to us she was incompentent to treat anyone. If someone says they have pain, who am I or who is she to judge. It's not a risk I would take. And it's not like he is asking for meds for it.. it just hurts and he doesn't want to take meds.

So in all of this.. don't forget, when your doctor says something, it's ok to let them know you don't like their cavelier remarks, that it was worrisome. If they don't understand.. then you have choices.

Off my soap box for the weekend!

:) Kari


Billie67's picture
Posts: 843
Joined: Jul 2012

My voice is permanently raspy as my scc was vocal cord. If you are just now getting raspy it could just be from the swelling post rads or even simpler..it could be from reflux(even if you don't feel like you have it). 

That was a horrible way for him to respond to you and, I'd say its highly unlikely that it is a tumor based on the fact that you just finished treatment. JERK!!! When you see your ENT I'm sure he will be able to calm you and tell you its simply one of the things I've mentioned. 

Try to take a deep breath and relax, I'm sure you have nothing to worry about.


George_Baltimore's picture
Posts: 303
Joined: Jun 2009

Couldn't talk above a whisper.  It got much better but it never get back to "normal".  I hate to say it but your voice will probably be a little raspy from here on out.  I would settle for that right about now.  I haven't been able to talk for almost two years due to a surgery in 2011.  I enjoyed my "raspy" voice from around August of 2006 until June of 2011.  Alot of times I would have to repeat myself when speaking on the phone.  Usually, in person, no one had a problem understanding me.  But, we are all individuals.  I thought Michael Douglas' voice would have gone raspy by now but a couple months ago he sounded normal to me so you never know.  Good luck and hang in there.

Tim6003's picture
Posts: 1511
Joined: Nov 2011

I actually got a bit nervous as you did bc my voice was okay until about 2 - 3 months after my last tx, it got substantially worse.  I thought, oh crud, here goes a problem...but all my scans and scopes show all is clear.

However, when I went back to work in April full time more or less (my last rad was Jan 21) my voice is pretty much my living...I manager a couple of hotels and an RV park an in the summer I oversee as many as 30 employees....so charging them with tasks and working the phones, seems by the end of the day my voice has checked out....

I often will have presentations or 2 hours events that I have to speak at soley...and by the end it's a wonder I can even be heard.  My voice now sounds like Clint Eastwood in his older days (don't know if you ever have seen one of his recent movies) vs. his younger day movies...lol.

I hope over time mine comes back, that's for sure.

Keep us posted.



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