Changes to your voice

Your voice might get hoarse if you have radiotherapy to your voice box to treat cancer of the larynx. It could disappear completely for a while during and after the treatment. Your voice 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.

  • Devita, Hellman and Rosenberg's Cancer Principles and Practice of Oncology (11th edition)
    VT Devita, TS Lawrence and SA Rosenberg
    Wolters Kluwer Health, 2019

  • Head and Neck Cancer: Treatment, Rehabilitation, and Outcomes (2nd edition)
    E Ward and others, 
    Plural publishing, 2014

Last reviewed: 
10 Nov 2020
Next review due: 
10 Nov 2023

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