Is chemotherapy voice real?

Sher asked...

Does chemo affect your voice? Is there such a thing as chemotherapy voice?

Expert Answer

Ernest Rosenbaum, MD, is an oncologist affiliated with Stanford University and with the Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of California, San Francisco, where he has developed protocols for supportive care and clinical practices.

Yes, chemotherapy can affect the quality of a patient's voice. The most common reason this happens is because of weakness; if chemotherapy makes a patient weak in general, the voice may become quieter, deepen, or become "throatier." Some patients also develop problems speaking because of dry mouth, which can make the voice sound hoarse or whispery. Mouth sores can also make it harder to talk. Chemo isn't the only cause of vocal problems, though. Radiation to the head and neck can have an effect on the vocal chords, making it harder to produce sound. If someone you love is having trouble with their voice as a result of cancer treatment, talk to their doctor. Depending on the cause, there may be things you can do to ease the discomfort.