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Vocal cord paralysis

Posts: 4
Joined: Feb 2015

In 1983, I had a modified radical mastectomy with 23 cobalt radiation treatments.  Today, I have coronary artery disease (failed bypass to 100% blocked LAD in 2007) and I have just discovered that I have left vocal cord paralysis.    I am also preparing to undergo surgery for a tumor in the bladder.

I am male.  Thankful to have lived this long, delivered my daughter and watched her graduate from medical school!  

Cardiologist concludes that heart disease is from radiation, as there is no family history.  I exercise (not overweight), eat right and manage my stress (even more now that I am retired!).  


I have read where left side vocal cord paralysis has lately been recognized as one of the long term effects of the radiation I received.

Has anyone else had this experience?

NoTimeForCancer's picture
Posts: 2888
Joined: Mar 2013

Haree, when I went for my radiation planning session the tech told me she had been doing her job for 20 years.  I asked her, "I bet you have seen a LOT of changes in treatment in that time?"  She emphatically said, "YES!"

They don't use cobalt these days and I am always amazed when I hear individuals, like yourself, who post on these pages having undergone this type of treatment. 

I had the most issues wrapping my head around radiation.  Sadly, it is "the gift that keeps giving".  I have a friend who has congestive heart failure who was terrified of radiation for breast cancer because of the effects of radiation to the body. 

I hope someone can chime in.

Posts: 4
Joined: Feb 2015

Thanks, NoTime, for your response.   There have indeed been many advances in cancer treatment since the 1960's, 1970's and 1980's.   Many of those brave souls who fought the fight during those years have paved the way for improved treatments.    When I questioned radiation and what it would possibly do, the radiologist "compassionately" said, "You can have it and possibly live a long life, or you can refuse it and die."

Needless to say, I had it and as I wrote before, I am very thankful for the almost 32 years (May 23 is my anniversary date) I have had and the joys I have experienced.  I have not been prepared for these long-term consequences, however, and they come as "shocks" to the system.   

I do hope others who have experienced this will contribute to this discussion.   I understand from one male breast cancer website that I may be the longest living male breast cancer survivor.  Part of that is because my wife told me, "If you die on me, I will kill you!"     And everyone knows a happy wife makes for a happy life.

All the best to you in your journey.  We do not always know what is ahead of us, but I trust the God I serve to be marching in front of me as I face these new issues.

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