Mystery as US cancer patient develops Irish accent 9 months ago

Mystery as US cancer patient develops Irish accent

Doctors say the accent was "uncontrollable".

An American cancer patient recently developed the most curious of side effects - an "uncontrollable Irish accent".


The man, who was in his 50s and being treated for prostate cancer, developed the accent after his initial diagnosis, despite never even visiting Ireland.

As reported in The Guardian, experts from Duke University and the Urologic Research Centre of South Carolina believe that it is "extremely rare" for a cancer patient to be suffering from foreign accent syndrome (FAS).

FAS is much more common in stroke or head trauma victims, with the patient becoming just the third on record to have suffered the condition as a result of a malignancy.

Speaking on the unusual "brogue" adopted by the patient, a report in the British Medical Journal stated that "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".


Unable to disclose the man's nationality or other personal details, researchers were able to confirm that the man maintained his adopted Irish accent over the course of his 20-month-long treatment, right up until his death.

Although the man had lived in England during his 20s and had multiple friends and family members with Irish connections, the patient himself had ultimately never stepped foot in the country.

Further information available within the report stated that "His accent was uncontrollable, present in all settings and gradually became persistent".

The report also revealed that the man had "no neurological examination abnormalities, psychiatric history or MRI of the brain abnormalities at symptom onset".


However, the researchers did go on to hypothesise that paraneoplastic neurological disorder (PND), which develops in some cancer patients whose immune systems attack parts of the brain, spinal cord, nerves or muscles, was the likely cause of this curious symptom.

Concluding the report, researchers asserted that this case highlighted the need for more investigation and analysis of FAS, as they struggled to come to terms with the mystery of the patient's Irish lilt.