Roger Daltrey reveals cancer scare

The Who frontman was treated in 2009

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The Who‘s Roger Daltrey has revealed that he had an operation to remove a pre-cancerous growth on one of his vocal cords in December 2009.

The singer said he first became aware of a problem with his voice shortly after finishing a 30-date tour.

“My voice wasn’t behaving in the normal way,” Daltrey told CBS Los Angeles. “It was becoming hard work to sing. I just got lucky that somebody put me in touch with Steven Zeitels [Director of the Mass General Voice Center in Massachusetts].”


He added: “He told me that he didn’t like what he saw. He took off what he could from the problem area on my vocal cord. He said it wasn’t cancer but it was a pre-cancerous growth and you have to keep an eye on it.”

Following the operation, Daltrey said that, although he was well enough to perform with The Who at the Super Bowl around six weeks later, he initially struggled with the recovery process.

“I got depressed after he did the operation, during what I call the Big Silence,” he explained. “That’s when I realised what it would be like to not have a voice.”


Daltrey, who is a patron of Teenage Cancer Trust, is now having regular check-ups with Zeitels. He paid tribute to The Institute of Laryngology and Voice Restoration, a support group started by patients, saying: “It will give people who have no voice, not even a voice box, a voice again. And that’s going to be an extraordinary achievement.”

Meanwhile, Daltrey will take to the stage with The Who tonight (January 13) to play a gig in aid of the Killing Cancer charity at London’s HMV Hammersmith Apollo. Richard Ashcroft, Debbie Harry and Jeff Beck are also on the bill.

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