In our latest campaign, they share what lays ahead for smokers who have to have their voice box removed because of cancer. They describe a laryngectomy as one of the most life-changing operations a person can have. There are many things that can never be the same again; the way you talk, breathe, smell and taste. Things you take for granted like screaming for your footy team are no longer possible. Almost 80% of cancers of the voice box (larynx) are caused by smoking. The surgical footage in the commercials is highly graphic because, as we continue to hear from people who smoke, using shocking images is one of the most urgent and effective reminders of the need to quit.
In this commercial, ENT surgeon Rob Wormald shows the removal of an extremely large tumor from a smoker’s throat. It was so big, the patient could hardly breathe.
Hear anesthetist Hamish Mace describe some of the ways in which a person's life is dramatically affected by having their voice box removed.
After surgery, air will pass through a hole in your neck (stoma) instead of your nose, which can affect your sense of smell and taste. You need to avoid getting water into the stoma, as it leads directly into your windpipe and down to your lungs. Your speech will also be affected. Without vocal cords you can’t raise your voice, so cheering and shouting are no longer possible.
During the filming, Dr Mace took time to explain the important benefits of quitting smoking before surgery. He says, if a person stops during cancer treatment, they have a 50% higher chance of surviving.
Dr Wormald talks about the high risk of surgical complications people face if going into an operation still a smoker.
By quitting as soon as you can, you’ll not only reduce your cancer risk, you’ll start to see other health benefits too. Learn how your health will improve by checking out smoking effects on the body. If you’re ready to stop now, why not get help and advice with our quit tips.
If you or a loved one has a cancer diagnosis and are looking for information and support, contact Cancer Council WA’s Cancer Nurses on 13 11 20 or via the website.