Itzhak Brook, M.D. MSc.
Physician and Professor of Pediatrics, Georgetown University School of Medicine, HNCA Board Member, Throat Cancer Survivor; Washington, DC
Dr. Brook is a physician who specializes in pediatrics and infectious diseases, and a head and neck cancer survivor. Initially diagnosed with throat cancer in 2006, regrettably, his cancer recurred after initial treatments, and his larynx had to be removed. Becoming a laryngectomee was a trying experience for Dr. Brook, as it affected his most fundamental functions: speaking, breathing, and eating.
Communicating with others became a challenge for him, and he had to learn how to speak again.
“Speaking requires mastering daily procedures and techniques using equipment and devices that have to operate in the most optimal way for me to be heard and understood,” explained Dr. Brook. “Furthermore, I had to face new medical issues that emerged as a result of the treatment I had received and had to confront many psychological and social issues. Becoming a patient with a serious illness after practicing medicine for over 40 years allowed me to understand the hardship and difficulties that patients face in ways I could not have done before.”
Since becoming a laryngectomee, Dr. Brook has devoted his efforts to improving head and neck cancer patient care, preventing medical errors, and educating head and neck cancer patients.
He has authored the books, My Voice, a Physician’s Personal Experience with Throat Cancer and The Laryngectomee Guide. The Guide has been translated into 11 languages and is available free of charge.
As a head and neck cancer survivor and a laryngectomee, Dr. Brook feels great satisfaction that his personal experience enables him to help other survivors to speak again and lead a full and satisfying life.