Throat cancer patients whose voice box has been damaged can hope to speak again without having to spend tonnes of money for artificial voice boxes. Head and neck surgeon at the Health Care Global Enterprises Ltd (HCG), Bengaluru, Vishal Rao, has developed a cost-effective device which can be used by patients who have had their larynx removed surgically due to throat cancer.

Speaking to journalists in New Delhi, Rao explained: “In India, there are 25,000 cases of throat cancer every year. A majority of patients would come for treatment in the fourth stage of cancer, which is pretty advanced, making it difficult to save the voice box.”

Earlier, the treatment for this used to cost around Rs.40,000. but Rao&’s innovation had made the same prosthesis available for as low as Rs.50. “We filed a patent three months ago and have got ethical and scientific clearance for the prosthesis. We have been getting queries from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Indonesia about it,” he said.

Rao said that the vision behind developing the economically-viable prosthesis was that he wanted to make a cost-effective device with excellent quality which would help the poor get their voice back without them having to spend a fortune for it.

The prosthesis has to be fitted by a doctor after making an artificial hole in the throat. “It does not have any electronic component and is safe for use. It&’s made of platinum cured silicon which is imported from Germany,” he added.