This health video looks into ways of preserving your voice when is comes under threat.
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Jennifer Matthews: For 5 years, 5 months and 13 days, Amy Hancock had no voice. Amy Hancock: Some things you do not forget, and that is something I will never forget. Jennifer Matthews: Diagnosed with cancer of her vocal cords, Amy had surgery to remove the cancer, and her larynx, at just 21. Without her larynx, she had no voice. Several attempts to restore it failed, but she didn't give up. Amy Hancock: I've always been a talker. I knew that I was going to talk again. Jennifer Matthews: That thought was just a wish, until she met Doctor Randal Paniello. Randal Paniello: Communication is important to various degrees. It's important to everyone, but to some people, it's really important, and in her case, she's one of those. Jennifer Matthews: To give Amy her voice back, Doctor Paniello made a speaking tube using skin tissue, an artery and vein from her arm, and cartilage from her nose. It was his first time performing the surgery, and he says Amy's the first person in the U.S. to have it done. Randal Paniello: When she first had air going through the shunt and into her mouth, it was the first time she had actually passed any air through her mouth in over five years. Jennifer Matthews: Being able to pull air from her lungs allows Amy to speak naturally and in long sentences. Amy Hancock: The first words I said were, Thank, you, Dr. Paniello. Jennifer Matthews: Now, she spends much of her time talking to Macie. Amy Hancock: Macie is my daughter. She's technically a dog, but that does not make her any less my daughter. Jennifer Matthews: Amy will continue to strengthen her voice and after being cancer-free for more than five years, she's ready to take on the world. Amy Hancock: You have to decide that cancer is not going to beat you, and so that's what I did. I fought, and that's why I'm here. Jennifer Matthews: This is Jennifer Matthews reporting.