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.
Voice over: When having radiotherapy to your head and neck, you can experience many different side effects. One of these might be changes to your voice.
Charlie: They found cancer in my voice box so that was part of the treatment area. As the weeks progressed in treatment, I started losing it.
Louise: If you're having radiotherapy to your larynx, your voice box, you may well find that you end up with an altered voice. This can happen during treatment and we can't always guarantee your voice will be the same as it was after treatment.
Charlie: I lost it in total probably for maybe 2 weeks, so my wife had a peaceful couple of weeks for that period of time, and it just came back. But it was quite fragile. So I learned to take it easy, and even now, 18-20 months after treatment, I can feel it if I talk too much.
Louise: We would recommend you rest your voice as much as possible and if needed, carry a pen and paper around with you, so you can continue to communicate.
Voice over: For information on other head and neck radiotherapy side effects visit, the Cancer Research UK website.