Prostate cancer patient develops ‘uncontrollable Irish accent’ after spread of disease

A US man reportedly developed an “uncontrollable Irish accent” after being diagnosed with prostate cancer despite not being of Irish descent. The British Medical Journal (BMJ) reported that the patient’s symptoms are consistent with foreign accent syndrome (FAS), a rare condition in which a person’s normal accent is replaced by a new one. The literature on this syndrome is scarce, but the phenomenon has been described in several case studies in the past.

In an article for BMJ, the authors wrote: “A 50-year-old man with metastatic hormone-sensitive prostate cancer. […] presented with an out-of-control “Irish accent” despite no Irish ancestry […]”.

The report states that there were no signs of neurological abnormalities during the examination at the time of imaging.

However, scientists found that the patient’s prostate cancer progressed despite chemotherapy.

“He had no neurological examination, psychiatric history, or MRI of brain abnormalities at the onset of symptoms,” the authors explained.

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“Despite chemotherapy, his neuroendocrine prostate cancer progressed, leading to multifocal brain metastases and likely paraneoplastic ascending palsy, leading to his death.”

In other words, the researchers noticed that the progression of the disease leads to multifocal brain tumors.

This type of metastasis is extremely rare in prostate cancer and usually occurs late in the disease.

During testing, the team also found signs of paraneoplastic disorder, a group of rare diseases that occur when the immune system reacts to a tumor known as a neoplasm.

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The authors said: “To our knowledge, this is the first case of FAS described in a patient with prostate cancer and the third described in a patient with malignancy.”

The disease was first described in 1907 by the French neurologist Pierre Marie.

Since then, just over 100 cases have been reported.

“With FAS, your native language will remain the same. In fact, you will still likely be able to speak in full sentences without breaking the order or the words,” explains WebMD.

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“The only difference will be how your accent sounds.”

Several patients suffering from this condition have previously described feeling as if a “stranger” had entered their home.

The BBC reports that in 2006, a British woman named Linda Walker suffered a stroke and found that her Geordie accent had changed to a Jamaican-sounding voice.

She said at the time, “Not only did I have a stroke, I also had foreign accent syndrome.

“I didn’t understand how I sounded, but then my speech therapist turned on the recording of my speech. I was just devastated.”

An even earlier case of FAS was detailed in 1941, when a Norwegian woman developed a German accent after being hit by a bomb fragment during a World War II air raid.

As a result, she was shunned by the locals, believing her to be a Nazi spy.

Fortunately, there have been cases where patients with FAS have been able to regain their original accent, either spontaneously or with the help of a speech therapist.

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