Throat cancer patients who have lost their voice can look forward to speaking again, without having to shell out thousands on an artificial voice box. Dr Vishal Rao, Bengaluru-based (Karnataka, Bharat) oncologist, has invented a voice prosthesis priced at just Rs 50. The device weighs just about 25 grams and is seen as a boon for the poor. The prosthesis available in the market costs Rs 20,000 (to be changed once in six months). The device has been aptly named Aum voice prosthesis. “We decided to term it Aum, as that is the sound which first resonated across the universe. Regaining one’s voice is so much like a rebirth,” said Rao. He took the help of his friend Shashank Mahesh, an industrialist, to deal with the financial aspect of the project. Ramakrishna, 55, a watchman from Peenya suffering from throat cancer, was the first recipient of the prosthesis.”He was a beedi addict. He had been smoking for years to keep awake at night. He suffers from throat cancer and we had to remove his voice box. He was given a Western voice prosthesis. Though it had a shelf life of six months, he used it for two years as he couldn’t afford a new one. He came to me with tears in his eyes saying that food was leaking through the prosthesis. Our device innovation was just about ready and we offered it to him for Rs 50. He regained his speech and returned with a million dollar smile, telling me that he was doing fine. That was the biggest gift for me,” said Dr Rao. At any given point of time, there are over 1.5 lakh cases of tobacco-induced cancer in the state. (Based on a report by Smt Sunitha Rao R in THE TIMES OF INDIA, December 25, 2015).