If you’re a smoker and notice that your voice is no longer as deep and rough as it used to be, then there’s a chance that you may be suffering from lung cancer. Although your voice may have no other symptoms, this could be a sign of a serious condition.
Doctors say that a change in a smoker’s voice can indicate lung cancer as well as throat and mouth cancers. The risk goes up the more years you’ve been smoking and the more packs you smoke each day. The toxins from cigarettes damage cells in your lungs and these cells change the way sound is produced by creating chords made of ligaments and muscles.
Scientists aren’t exactly sure why it happens; they think it may be because heavy smokers cough more often than non-smokers, which irritates the vocal cords. It could also be because people with cancer or who are recovering often take deep breaths to help them breathe better, and this could put pressure on the vocal cords and make them tense.
Another reason smokers’ voices change is because their voice box (larynx) swells, which makes it harder to control talking and breathing. The larynx also becomes irritated from smoking and can swell up considerably.
Has Your Voice Changed Over the Years?
Men tend to have a more dramatic change in their voice with smoking than women, which is due to the difference in vocal cords between men and women. Typically, the vocal cords of an adult male are about 50% thicker than those of an adult female (the thickness can vary among different ethnic groups).
If you notice that your song sounds hoarse or raspy and suspect there’s something not right, then there may be a problem with infection in your lungs. Again, these symptoms are mostly noticed by smokers; however, even non-smokers should be aware of these effects of excessive cigarette use. Some other ways a smoker’s voice changes through time include:
- Breathy/wheezy sound when speaking
- Loss of endurance while singing or speaking
- Hoarse voice
- Inability to sing in a higher range for a sustained time
Risks Factors for Developing Lung Cancer
There are several risk factors for developing lung cancer, but the biggest one would be smoking. Although this doesn’t mean that you have automatically developed lung cancer if you’re a smoker, it does increase your chances of getting diagnosed with the disease. If you don’t smoke, then there could still be other risk factors for you such as exposure to hazardous chemicals or environmental pollutants at work or even second-hand smoke from other people smoking around you constantly.
People who live with smokers are more likely to get lung cancer than those who don’t live with smokers because they are constantly exposed to second-hand smoke. The risk is almost the same as if you were a smoker yourself. A non-smoker living with a smoker has an increased chance of getting lung cancer by 20% compared to someone who doesn’t inhale second-hand smoke and who doesn’t live with a smoker.
Effects of Smoking on the Body
Smoking also has other effects on the body that people notice besides just changes in talking. It decreases oxygen levels in your blood and makes it hard for your heart to pump properly. This could make you feel tired or fatigued making it harder for you to fight off infections brought on by viruses like colds or flus.
Your lungs are responsible for bringing oxygen into the body. Carbon dioxide is let out with each breath of air we exhale. A sign of lung cancer is when people no longer have the same sound in their voice after they’ve been smoking for years. This can also be a symptom of throat cancer or laryngeal cancer which happens more often since smokers tend to smoke on one side of the mouth usually resulting in more damage to that side of the throat, too.
Major Symptom of Lung Cancer
Another symptom that could be indicative of lung cancer is a persistent cough that just won’t go away. In some cases, the patient may even feel the need to clear their throat constantly. Patients will also complain of shortness of breath and/or chest pains when they have lung cancer because the disease has spread from the lungs to other parts of their body. It can block or collapse a main airway in your lungs or break a blood vessel inside one of your lungs, which would lead to internal bleeding.
When you have a constant cough with phlegm and a fever for several weeks, then you should see your doctor right away because this could be a sign of lung cancer. In some cases, the cough may be dry and can become worse when you lie down at night or in the morning. The cough could also lead to internal bleeding because it’s acting like a knife that is constantly cutting your insides.
My Voice is Not the Same as Before, What Should I Do?
Of course, this isn’t always a tell-tale sign because there are plenty of conditions that can change your voice such as acid reflux, GERD or even sinus problems. However, it is worth the time and cost to visit a doctor especially if you’re a smoker and have been for years. Smoking can damage your vocal cords over time which would explain why you might not sound exactly the same after having smoked for so long.
You may also take health supplements to boost the immune system. This way your body can fight off the free radicals that can cause cancer.
If you think that your voice is changing because you’ve been reading aloud or singing more often lately, then it probably isn’t because of your smoking. That’s because these activities don’t put as much stress on your vocal cords as talking for hours at a time does.
The best way to see if you have lung cancer would be to get a chest X-ray done or a CT scan. These tests will give your doctor the best idea of what’s going on and they can also determine if it has spread to other parts of your body. If this is the case, then chemotherapy may be part of the treatment along with radiation therapy. The earlier you get diagnosed with lung cancer, the better so that you can get started right away on treating it before it spreads throughout your body and becomes harder to treat because there are more affected areas than just one.
If you have any of these symptoms, it’s important to get yourself checked right away if not sooner by your doctor in order to diagnose and treat lung cancer in its early stages before it can spread anywhere else in the body, like the lymph nodes or brain. The earlier the disease is caught, the more likely treatment will be successful.