Monday, July 11, 2011

The Good Cancer: Causes and Types of Thyroid Cancer

The causes of thyroid cancer are many. 

Radiation--People exposed to high levels of radiation are much more likely than others to develop papillary or follicular thyroid cancer. (i received an xray during a dental appointment once!)

Family history--Medullary thyroid cancer can be caused by a change, or alteration, in a gene called RET. The altered RET gene can be passed from parent to child. Nearly everyone with the altered RET gene will develop medullary thyroid cancer. (no one in my family has this...thank goodness!)
Being female--In the United States, women are two to three times more likely than men to develop thyroid cancer (i am a female)

Age--Most patients with thyroid cancer are more than 40 years old. People with anaplastic thyroid cancer are usually more than 65 years old. (i am in my 30s)

Race--In the United States, white people are more likely than African Americans to be diagnosed with thyroid cancer.( i am African-Canadian)

Not enough iodine in the diet--The thyroid needs iodine to make thyroid hormone. In the United States, iodine is added to salt to protect people from thyroid problems. Thyroid cancer seems to be less common in the United States than in countries where iodine is not part of the diet. (i love salt in my meals--im African!)

I didn't focus too much on the causes because honestly you can do everything possible to make yourself healthy.  However cancer truly does not discriminate.  It will find you if that's part of your life's journey. 

There are four types of thyroid cancers (thyca).  Heretofore, we will refer to thyroid cancer as thyca because of course every illness out there has some sexiness to it:-)

Papillary and follicular cancers are referred to as "well differentiated" and are the most common types.  Together, they account for about 90% of all thyca.  The good thing is that these prognosis or long term outlook, for patients is excellent.  With regular checkups and long-term monitoring, the 20-year survival rate is nearly 93%.

Medullary and anaplastic thyroid cancers are much less common and are usually more difficult to treat, although great strides have been made in the treatment of all thycas.

The prognosis for any given thyroid cancer patient depends on several factors, including the type of thyroid cancer, whether the disease has spread to others parts of the body, and the patient's age at diagnosis.  Early and aggressive treatment as well as commitment to long-term monitoring is essential to achieve the best outcome.

And after my first and second fine needle aspirations biopsy (Mr. Pancakes insisted i get a second opinion just to be on the safe side) which came back suspicious for (guess away): papillary cancer.

If i had to have cancer, i guess i am glad it was of the thyroid.  And if i had to have a type, then i am glad it was papillary.  It didn't take away from the fact that i was scared out of my mind.  But in the midst of my storm, God was definitely looking out.

To be continued...treatment pathways


Cheryl Lage said...

You fight the good fight and you stand a FANTASTIC chance of very long term survival!

As you've said, cancer does not discriminate or always follow the "expected" path (My husband is fighting Stage 3C melanoma....and is currently nearly 17 months cancer-free, THANK GOD!) He never had sunburns or was a sun worshipper.

Thankfully for all we families affected by cancer, SOOOOO much is being done to make huge strides in treatment and prolonging what in earlier eras would have been very dire prognoses.

Will remember you and yours in thoughts and prayers....please do the same for us!

Go get 'em Mrs. Pancakes!

Faith said...

God is truly looking out for you! :)

Keep the positive thoughts and there is no doubt you are/will be a testimony of how great God is!

toi said...

You are a testimony of how great our Lord is :).

It must be hard for you to talk about this illness, but thank you so much for sharing because I am learning a lot.

Emily said...

Best wishes for your road to recovery.

Thanks so much for linking up with Super Stalker Sunday hop. There are several wonderful blogs participating this week, you're certain to find a few new favorites!

I look forward to reading more from you!

Your Co-Host,
Emily from Nap Time Is My Time

P.S. - I've recently switched from blogger to WordPress and had some issues when transferring the GFC widget. I'd really appreciate if you could double check to ensure you're following me!

ASingleMothersJourney said...

Keep fighting! God's not done with you yet! I like how you're educating yourself and us as well. Thanks for sharing.

Holly said...

Just remember...God is fighting this with you!

Thanks for stopping by the Monkey Around Monday Hop! My host and myself are happy you joined us! Following you now, and looking forward to more posts!

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