Our Patients

Laryngeal cancer takes speech away from 30,000 people each year, but not all these stories have unhappy endings.

A forty-two year old man was having a hard time at work because people could not understand his hoarse voice.

He was diagnosed with cancer of the larynx or voicebox. After radiation treatment failed to control the tumor, he was offered surgery to remove his voicebox due to the cancer in it. He struggled with the decision to have his voicebox removed, but decided to go forward with the surgery because he wanted the best chance to be cancer-free so he could watch his children grow up.  During surgery, a tracheoesophageal prosthesis (TEP) was inserted,  and within two weeks of surgery, he was learning how to vocalize using the device. Within four weeks he had returned to work and was giving short teaching lectures to his coworkers. Within three months he was able to return to a normal schedule, giving presentations at work and talking with clients over the phone. Many of his coworkers have commented that his voice is better now than it was before surgery.

This patient was fortunate to have insurance that covered his voice prosthesis. Many other patients, especially those treated at the University of Illinois, are not so lucky. Medicare and many other insurances do not cover the cost of a TEP. Many laryngeal cancer patients are seniors on a fixed income who are left voiceless because they cannot afford this device. An average patient is charged more than $600 for each device which must be replaced every nine to twelve months.

Your gift to the One Voice Fund gives the gift of speech to someone facing a life-changing challenge. Funds from this foundation are used solely to help restore vocal communication in patients who have had their voice box removed, and donations are tax deductible within the limits of the law