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A team of patients, doctors, speech and language therapists, researchers, singers and actors that work closely together.


Throat cancer affects thousands of people in the UK, and many have life-changing surgery, called a laryngectomy, to remove their voice box.


At Shout at Cancer we are dedicated to helping people rebuild their lives after laryngectomy. We use workshops incorporating breathing, singing and acting techniques, with public performances and collaboration with musicians, singers and actors.


Our aim is to help people with laryngectomies to improve their voice, re-gain confidence, re-integrate into their community and improve their quality of life. Our goal is simply to help give a voice back to every person who has had it taken away by cancer.


Click here to listen to one of our group members, Annie Humphries, and Dr Thomas Moors on BBC Radio 4, talking about the work of Shout At Cancer

1: Theodore Billroth   2: Johannes Brahms

Music: a dominant Passion. The story of the friendship between Johannes Brahms and Theodore Billroth, the first surgeon to perform a laryngectomy.


The career of Theodore Billroth was filled with many sharp contrasts. Not only did he lay the ground 

work for many surgical approaches that are still used today – he performed the first laryngectomy and 

gastrectomy in the world – but he was also a remarkable musician and influenced Brahms in many of his 



Both of his grandparents were professional opera singers, sparking an interest in music in Billroth which 

developed from an early age. His musical passion even distracted from his academic performances at 

school, such that nobody would have predicted how much this little boy would influence both the 

medical and musical worlds.


At the age of 19, abandoning the pursuit of a professional musical career at the request of his parents, 

he began medical school in Gottingen. However, he maintained his interest in music alongside his 

studies, frequently accompanying visiting musicians on the piano. On one occasion he even did so for 

Jenny Lind, one of the great opera singers of her time.


After a brilliant early career at the Charite hospital in Berlin, Billroth became a professor in Zurich, where 

he met Brahms under memorable circumstances. Impressed by the talent shown by a young Brahms in 

concert, Billroth and his friends re-hired the whole orchestra, invited an audience of influential 

acquaintances and re-organised the entire concert shortly after, just to be able to listen to it again.


Billroth was subsequently appointed as a professor in Vienna, and his friendship with Brahms grew even 

stronger over the following years. Almost all of the chamber music composed by Brahms during this 

period was played for the first time before an exclusive audience in Billroth's home. Billroth was proud 

to own a home where Haydn and Beethoven had once performed their music, and even prouder that he 

could add Brahms to this already impressive list.


The dominant passion throughout Billroth’s life was his love of music, believing that it added greatly to 

his inventive ability as a surgeon. The fact that music now has found its place in voice rehabilitation after 

laryngectomy is a display of much-deserved respect to the great man, Theodore Billroth.

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