Self-reported changes in the professional singing voice after surgical intervention treatment for breast cancer: a survey pilot study of female professional singers

Margaret M Baroody, Kathryn Barnes-Burroughs, Michael C Rodriguez, Dahlia M Sataloff, Robert Thayer Sataloff
Journal of Voice 2013, 27 (2): 225-9

BACKGROUND: The effects of breast cancer surgical treatment on the professional singing voice are unknown.

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to discover whether there are self-perceived changes in the quality and/or process of singing experienced by professional female singers who have undergone surgical intervention for the treatment of diagnosed breast cancer-including any changes perceived from the use of radiation, chemotherapy, and other drug treatments related to those surgeries.

METHODS: A voluntary subject pool comprised female professional singers who have undergone surgery for breast cancer was recruited from professional singing networks. Participants underwent evaluation through an anonymous online survey, psychometrically vetted for content and instrument reliability/validity before administration.

RESULTS: Valid participants (N=56) responded to 45 questions regarding surgical procedures, related therapies, and self-perceived vocal effects. Analysis of results produced a preliminary description of types of voice change, duration of changes, and qualitative self-perceptions.

CONCLUSIONS: This initial report reveals that there are self-perceived singing voice changes experienced by professional singers treated for breast cancer. However, additional research is needed to determine the degree of vocal impact perceived to be attributable to individual surgical interventions and related therapies.

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