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Andrea's blog: "Thyroid Cancer"

created on 12/17/2007  |  http://fubar.com/thyroid-cancer/b169026
OK SO I WENT FOR MY BODY SCAN TODAY AFTER MY 10 DAY PERIOD OR RADIOIODINE THERAPY. IT ALL LOOKS GOOD SO FAR SO I GET TO TAKE MY THYROID SUPPLEMENT YAY!!! THIS IS GREAT NEWS TO ME AND THE CANCER IS NOT SPREAD THROUGHTOUT MY BODY EITHER!!!
whoever said the radioactive pill don't have side effects lied!!! LOL i've been sick the whole time to my stomach and still am so if i'm not responding to your shouts or whatever that's why. Been trying to sleep alot.
SO I TOOK A PILL TODAY TO KILL ANY REMAINING CANCER CELLS LEFT IN MY BODY. SO FAR NO SIDE EFFECTS BUT IT'S ONLY BEEN AN HOUR AND HALF. SO ANYWAYS FIGURED I WOULD LET YA'LL KNOW IT'S GOING WELL SO FAR. I GO THE 24TH FOR A FULL BODY SCAN TO SEE HOW IT ALL WENT AND IF I'M GROUCHY IT'S CUZ I CAN'T HAVE SEX FOR 3 WEEKS DAMNIT!
How is thyroid cancer treated? Fortunately, most types of thyroid cancer can be diagnosed early and cured completely, but a thoughtful and comprehensive investigation is necessary. If thyroid cancer is suspected after review of all the information, referral to an experienced thyroid surgeon is recommended. The usual approach is to remove the side of the thyroid containing the lump. If cancer is confirmed, further consultation with the endocrinologist is appropriate. Additional surgery to remove the remaining tissue and radioactive iodine treatment are usually recommended in order to destroy any remaining malignant thyroid cells and to reduce the risk of recurrence of this disease. Radioactive iodine treatment should never be given to a pregnant woman! Small amounts of radioactive iodine will also be excreted in breast milk. Since radioiodine could permanently damage the infant’s thyroid, breast-feeding is not allowed. If radioiodine is inadvertently administered to a woman who is subsequently discovered to be pregnant, the advisability of terminating the pregnancy should be discussed with the patient’s obstetrician and endocrinologist. Therefore, prior to administering diagnostic or therapeutic radioiodine treatment, pregnancy testing is mandatory whenever pregnancy is possible. After radioiodine therapy, thyroid medication (levothyroxine) should be started and dosed to replace the function of the thyroid and to decrease the likelihood of cancer recurrence. Periodic monitoring is supervised by the endocrinologist, and may include ultrasound examinations, radioiodine body scans, and periodic testing of a blood protein called thyroglobulin, which is found in normal thyroid cells but can also be produced by thyroid cancer cells. The optimal frequency of further monitoring studies to be certain that the cancer has not recurred will be determined by your physician. Fortunately, most types of thyroid cancer have a very good prognosis when diagnosed early and treated by a physician who is familiar with its management.
What are the causes of thyroid cancer? As with many types of cancer, the specific reason for developing thyroid cancer remains a mystery in the vast majority of patients. Major risk factors are: • External radiation to the head or neck, especially during childhood • Genetic predisposition (the influence of heredity), particularly for the medullary type of thyroid cancer
What are the features of thyroid cancer? Many patients with thyroid cancer have no symptoms whatsoever, and are found by chance to have a lump in the thyroid gland on a routine physical exam or an imaging study of the neck done for unrelated reasons (CT or MRI scan of spine or chest, carotid ultrasound, etc). Some patients with thyroid cancer become aware of a gradually enlarging lump in the front portion of the neck, which usually moves with swallowing. Occasionally, the lump may cause a feeling of pressure. Obviously, finding a lump in the neck should be brought to the attention of your physician, even in the absence of symptoms.
What is thyroid cancer? The thyroid gland is located in the lower front of the neck, below the voicebox (larynx) located in the upper part of the neck, and above the collarbones. Thyroid cancer (carcinoma) usually appears as a painless lump in this area. In most cases, the lump affects only one side, and the results of thyroid function tests (blood tests) are usually normal. There are four main types of thyroid cancer (papillary, follicular, medullary and anaplastic). Since the vast majority are either papillary or follicular, and these are the only two types treatable with radioiodine, this brochure will focus on these two types.
Papillary and follicular cancer , or carcinoma, account for about 80-85% of all thyroid malignancies. Thyroid Cancer Papillary and Follicular Cancer, or CarcinomaPapillary and follicular cancer , or carcinoma, account for about 80-85% of all thyroid malignancies. They get their names from their appearance under the microscope. Some are pure papillary, some are purely follicular in nature, and some are mixed, that is, both types of cancer cells may be present in the same tumor. In fact, some of these tumors are actually referred to as “follicular variant of papillary carcinoma”. The important thing to understand is that 1) the typical forms of these cancers are quite curable in a very large percentage of cases and, 2) they behave in somewhat dissimilar ways, and affect slightly different age groups, though there are often exceptions to the rule. Papillary carcinoma is more common in the younger age groups, though oldsters can also get the disease. Any thyroid mass in a child or teenager should be considered highly suspicious for papillary carcinoma until proven otherwise. Papillary cancer can be a solitary nodule, but it can be found to be multicentric within the gland in at least 20% of cases. If it’s going to spread, it prefers to do so through the lymphatic system, that is, spreading to lymph nodes. The first lymph nodes in danger are those that live next to the trachea or windpipe. These are called the “paratracheal lymph nodes”and we have seen an incidence of metastasis here of about 50% in our cases of papillary cancer going back to 1949. For this reason we recommend removal of these nodes when total thyroidectomy is done for known papillary cancer. The next group of nodes that this cancer may spread to are in the neck, and they may be the lymph nodes just above the collar bone or the nodes that live along the mid-portion of the jugular vein. Excluding the paratracheal nodes, if a patient has spread of her thyroid cancer to the other lymph nodes of the neck, a complete removal of all the lymph nodes of the neck on that side should be performed. The boundaries of such an operation are the collar bone to the trapezius muscle to the horizontal line of the jawbone to the midline. Any compromise here can and does end up necessitating multiple procedures in many cases. Indeed, one of the more common problems I see is inadequate initial surgery resulting in multiple procedures. As I write this I am waiting to see a lady from California who has already had three procedures. Removal of all the lymph nodes from one side of the neck is called a “modified radical neck dissection” and when performed correctly it should obviate the need for any more surgical treatment with regard to the lymph nodes on that side of the neck. Not enough surgeons are trained in the Art and Science of this procedure. Papillary cancer can spread to other parts of the body as well, but this is usually a late manifestation of the disease. For this reason, radioactive Iodine is sometimes given following surgery to kill any cancer cells that may have escaped to other places before the surgical removal of the tumor. Follicular cancer affects women a little more than men and is usually, but not always, in a little older age group. Follicular cancer prefers to spread through the blood stream more than through the lymph node system. Usually the tumor is solitary, but total thyroidectomy is always performed because we have to remove all of the functioning thyroid tissue in the neck that we can so that the dose of radioactive Iodine given later can and will actually get to any cancer cells that might have spread. If we left the “normal” half after taking out the half with the follicular cancer in it, then any Iodine we would give the patient would all go to that normal thyroid tissue left behind in the neck and not get to the cancer cells that might be lingering elsewhere in the body. Finally, some tumors are partly papillary and partly follicular, and their treatment plan has to be individualized for that patient.
I found out this afternoon that I have cancer. It's not bad as far as they know but i have to do a radioiodine treatment in a few weeks. It's thyroid cancer and they "think" they got it all but just in case i'm having the treatments done anyways. Please if you guys have doubts about your health get a second opnion i've been fighting a disease i didn't even have for 3 years and it was totally different make sure you explore all options before going with one opinion! Love, Andi
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