Medicine: Speaking Again

Better to sound like Satchmo

In 1970 Bessie Parello, then 47, became one of the 10,000 Americans a year who develop cancer of the voice box, or larynx. To remove the cancerous tissue, surgeons perform an operation called a laryngectomy on many of these patients. Because the surgery disrupts the windpipe, the surgeon must create a small hole in the throat for breathing. But talking is another matter. Some people can learn to gulp air through the mouth, force it down the esophagus, or gullet, instead of the windpipe, and literally burp it back...

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