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What is it like to live with a laryngectomy? -A quantitative study

ReD Associates for Atos Medical in collaboration with the Netherlands Cancer Institute (NKI).

A large global ethnographic and quantitative study

A laryngectomy is a surgical procedure in which the voice box (larynx) is removed due to cancer. Such an operation has a significant impact on the patient’s life. Patients have to learn a new way of speaking which is different from their normal voice and they breathe through a neck stoma which affects the condition of their lungs. They depend on medical devices such as voice prostheses and heat and moisture exchangers (HMEs) to alleviate their problems.


In 2018 Atos Medical commissioned the largest global patient study of its kind to better understand where to improve laryngectomy care and quality of life for patients.


The study was conducted in collaboration between ReD Associates, a global anthropology and sociology consulting company focusing on studying human behaviour, and the Netherlands Cancer Institute, an internationally recognised centre of scientific and clinical laryngectomy expertise.


The study was a combined battery of ethnographic and quantitative methods. In total, 1 734 patients in 9 different countries took part in this global quantitative study, in the UK there were 159 patients who contributed. The patients participating in the study were screened to represent a spread in demography, time since surgery, and product use.

In total, 1 734 patients in 9 different countries took part in the study. The majority were men.


To get receive the full finding of the study, please request a FREE copy of our quantitative study booklet.

Request FREE booklet

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The patients reported a wide range of issues, indicating hidden problems. The most prevalent issues related to pulmonary health, voicing, skin irritation around the neck stoma, and issues associated with physical activity, sleep, and social interactions. Additional support and product development should be considered to help resolve these issues and improve quality of life.


The patients had a high degree of trust in their clinician for advice and, self- reportedly, felt healthy. However, this study found that the majority did not speak about their issues and validated that people with a laryngectomy face many hidden problems. When asked more specifically about the issues, they reported a wide range of issues.


Everyday issues

  • 69 % had mucus flare-ups during mealtime or social occasions
  • 53 % wished the HME looked more discreet
  • 48 % had left the stoma uncovered, without baseplate and HME, to let the skin heal or breathe


Situational issues

  • 51 % had taken the HME out to catch their breath
  • 61 % had woken up during the night from coughing
  • 59 % had felt irritation in the windpipe from air particles (e.g. dust, dirt)

There are opportunities for development, in services, education and products to help resolve these issues. The majority of the patients expressed an interest in trying new products and special HMEs to improve their quality of life.


Atos Medical’s commitment and dedicated specialisation in this field has allowed us to gain a deep understanding of the needs of laryngectomy patients. This understanding drives our innovation process and we take pride in continuously bringing innovative solutions to our users.


Over the years, Atos Medical served the needs of around 100,000 people who have been through a total laryngectomy in more than 70 countries. Our comprehensive laryngectomy care portfolio which includes a complete range of high-quality Provox voice and pulmonary rehabilitation devices, allows for a personalised combination of solutions for each user.


Atos Medical understands that being the leader in this field comprises more than first-rate product development. Supporting clinical research and education of both professionals and users are integral parts of our business.


We are proud of our history and our accomplishments and we continue to be excited by learning from our users, enabling us to serve them with the best products, services, and education in laryngectomy care.


To get receive the full finding of the study, please request a FREE copy of our quantitative study booklet.

Request FREE booklet

Get Booklet

For more information about ’What is it like to live with a laryngectomy? – A quantitative survey’ please email