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Loss of voice ...is this common?

Jackie UK

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My friend Karen (SCLC) lost her voice almost completely about a month ago. Apparently it was from swollen nodes compressing something. She had radiation and mid-way through it her voice started coming back. Doctor's said it may never be 100% because of damage caused by compression. She sounds better, but now has sore throat, etc. from radiation effects. This disease bites.

Good Luck and best wishes,


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Yes- it is very common. I believe others have posted that it is from the tumor pushing on a nerve. There have been several different treatments that have been posted-- one as simple as seeing a speech pathologist. You will recall Peter Jennings voice changing for one of his last appearances.

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The laryngeal nerve or the phrenic nerve often gets compressed. These nerves run through the chest so it is caused by local growth, not distant metastasis

Symptoms due to locoregional spread

These symptoms can include superior vena cava obstruction, paralysis of the recurrent laryngeal nerve, and phrenic nerve palsy, causing hoarseness and paralysis of the diaphragm; pressure on the sympathetic plexus, causing Horner syndrome; dysphagia resulting from esophageal compression; and pericardial effusion (ie, Pancoast tumor).

Superior sulcus tumors can cause compression of the brachial plexus roots as they exit the neural foramina, resulting in intense, radiating neuropathic pain in the ipsilateral upper extremity.

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John You are correct on that one exactly. There are many causes of this. The way my wife was diagnosed was because she woke up and could not talk just try to whisper. speech therapy is a possibility. Time could help. In the mean time you may want to try a small dryerase board and marker to write with. hopefully just a temporary thing. In our case the end was like the beginning Marker Boards and I still have Debs last Ilove you on one of them. Prayers and Best wishes. If I can help let me know.

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My friend, Stage IIIB, lost her voice about five weeks into treatment - the Southwest Oncology Group combination of Cisplatin, V16 and radiation to be followed in another couple of weeks by taxotere. It mostly came back after about 10 days - she's still a bit hoarse.

They thought it was early to be caused by the radiation and blamed on thrush deep down in her throat.

Holly Moore


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