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Your voice and head and neck radiotherapy

Having radiotherapy treatment to your head and neck may affect your voice. 

Voice changes and radiotherapy

Your voice might get hoarse or husky if you have radiotherapy treatment to your voice box for cancer of the larynx. It could disappear completely for a while during and after the treatment. It should come back within a few weeks but may never sound quite the same as it was.

Radiotherapy for other types of head and neck cancer might make your voice change a little during and for a few weeks after the treatment. Your voice should go back to normal once your treatment ends.

Communicating if you lose your voice

You might find it useful to carry a small notebook and pen so that you can always write notes to people if you need to. 

Laptop computers or electronic notebooks are other ways you can communicate. Various types of small portable machines are available. Your speech and language therapist can advise you on which may suit you best.

Last reviewed: 
14 Mar 2016
  • De Vita, Hellman, and Rosenberg's Cancer: Principles and Practice of Oncology (9th edition)
    De Vita, V.T., Lawrence, T.S. and Rosenberg S.A.
    Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins, 2011

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