My grandma is 76 years old, and had surgery last week to remove part of her thyroid because of some nodules she had on the right side of her thyroid. Her doctor said they all looked benign, but she got a call today from the doctor because they found out that one of the nodules was cancerous. He told her she has to have surgery again within 2 weeks to get the other part of her thyroid removed.
I read on the internet that there are 4 types of thyroid cancer, and 2 types have a better prognosis than the others. She doesn't know yet which kind she has, but considering the fact that the doctor hadn't thought the nodules were cancerous, do you think that this is a good sign and means that it probably hasn't spread at all to surrounding areas? Would they have checked for that during the first surgery?
Thanks for any answers!
They assumed they were benign (most pre needle biopsies are inaccurate), and if they did a frozen section during surgery, sometimes those are off as well.
She probably has pappillary, the most common, or follicular, also more common, and the most curable. If she did very well in surgery, then she should do well in the next.
Thyroid cancer doesn't spread much, and if it does, it's slow, unlike other types of cancers. It's also not as challenging to treat, usually surgery alone, depending on the type, or sometimes RAI to kill off remaining thyroid tissue.
She should do well, I had thyroid cancer, and I've had lots of people who know, call me when a loved one has it, and my coworkers mom just went through this, the same age as your mom, and did very well.
Most likely she has papillary or follicular. If they have determined that she has cancer, then they already know what type she has. The one you want to worry about is "anaplastic." This is the one that mostly likely occurs in elderly folks. That would be the only risk factor your grandmother has for this--her age. This type of cancer is VERY aggressive and your grandmother, if she had this type, probably would have been having other symptoms because it grows so fast and aggressively. The symptoms usually get people to the doctor PRONTO. Thought they never said it, I'm sure that Judge Rehnquist, who passed away a few years ago from this, had this type. He didn't live long after his diagnosis. If this is what your grandmother had, they would have had her in immediately to let her know--it's that drastic.
I hope that everything works out for your Grandma. It is a good thing that they are removing the rest of her thyroid being as though sometime cancer is microscopic (mine was). My Dr. said he rarely ever removes part of the thyroid. He said it is an unecessary (sp?) risck to keep it in.. Also keep in mind that anaplastic cancer is very rare.