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Possible thyroid cancer but no tests planned


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Old 07-08-2017, 10:46 PM   #1
shirlanne
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Possible thyroid cancer but no tests planned

Hello, I would be grateful for any feedback because I'm quite nervous since my last appointment with my endo.

For 30 years I've been taking thyroid meds for Hashimoto's Thyroiditis and I just saw my endo for a checkup and this time he said my thyroid was enlarged and nodular. He suspects I may have "a little thyroid cancer" as he put it but he doesn't want to do anything but keep an eye on it. My symptoms are extreme fatigue, pressing feeling on my throat, difficulty swallowing, hoarseness when I talk, dry cough, and general malaise. My endo says that as long as I'm on enough thyroid replacement there's nothing to worry about.

My thyroid levels are good and my tsh is very suppressed so the dr doesn't think that it will grow but I'm a nervous wreck since he raised the possibility of cancer. I want to know for sure and if it is cancer then decide whether to wait and see based on information and not a hunch. Am I being a worry wort or should I push for more tests?

Any help would be appreciated.

 
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Old 07-09-2017, 07:02 AM   #2
Harri3t
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Re: Possible thyroid cancer but no tests planned

I am so sorry you're going through this. I know most thyroid cancers are very treatable with excellent survival rates. I am just hypothyroid with no personal experience with thyroid cancer but your post screams get a second opinion. What especially doesn't make sense to me is your doctors statement that your thyroid meds should prevent growth of cancer. Meanwhile, your thyroid has enlarged and developed nodules and presumably cancer.

In your shoes I would want further testing. A simple ultrasound could help determine the composition and size of nodules and the advisability of biopsy. I would simply want to have a better idea of what is going on than to merely "suspect" and do nothing but wait.

Most insurance plans will pay for a second opinion. Even if I had to pay out of pocket, the cost would be worth it to me in peace of mind.

Wishing you good health and decreased anxiety. Please keep us updated.

 
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Old 07-09-2017, 07:23 AM   #3
shirlanne
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Re: Possible thyroid cancer but no tests planned

Thank you, Harri3t for replying to my post. I was just wondering if this is a standard approach for suspected thyroid cancer or what? Everything you said makes good sense to me. I will definitely seek another opinion. What confuses me is that I googled thyroid cancer when I got home and found a bunch of recent news articles saying that it's over diagnosed and over treated and a wait and see approach is best in most cases so then I wondered if I was over reacting. If I didn't have symptoms I might not worry as much but given that I do it only makes sense to follow up. Many thanks for sharing your thoughts on this.

 
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Old 07-09-2017, 08:01 AM   #4
Harri3t
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Re: Possible thyroid cancer but no tests planned

Hi shirlanne. Hopefully someone with real and recent experience will reply to better advise you. Even if a wait and see approach is the current treatment I would personally still feel better knowing what I was dealing with rather than just suspecting. Ultrasounds are a relatively inexpensive and widely available diagnostic tool for evaluating thyroid nodules. Even if it’s true that thyroid cancer is over-treated, it would seem to me that it must first be diagnosed objectively and as accurately as possible beyond a laying on of hands. Again, just my humble uninformed opinion… but I am glad you will seek out a second informed one. I just don't understand how an informed decision on a treatment plan can be made before an accurate diagnosis.

Best of luck to you.

 
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Old 07-09-2017, 08:54 AM   #5
Harri3t
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Re: Possible thyroid cancer but no tests planned

Hi again,shirlanne. One more thought and I’ll leave this to someone with personal experience. I just did a little reading on the current thoughts on treating thyroid cancer. It’s apparently true that many doctors feel certain types are over-diagnosed and over-treated and that in many cases a wait and see approach does no harm.Specifically, small papillary cancer-like nodules less than 1 cm may best be left alone and monitored.

Whatever the criteria, I still think it makes sense to have some objective baseline information on which to make current and future decisions. Not all nodules are palpable and without specific information about the location, composition and size of existing growths, how can future evaluations be made with any certainty? I’d question my endo further on how he will decide to treat or not in the future and how he can differentiate between the many types of cancerous growths possible through his/her suspicions alone.

Experience and probability can only go so far. Testing could provide hard evidence. I would think that asking for at least an ultrasound as a baseline recording would be a reasonable request of your current endo or otherwise.

Last edited by Harri3t; 07-09-2017 at 08:56 AM.

 
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Old 07-09-2017, 11:22 AM   #6
shirlanne
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Re: Possible thyroid cancer but no tests planned

Yes, it's very confusing to read that certain small thyroid cancers can be left alone without so much as a biopsy to determine exactly what they are when there are types of thyroid cancer that can be very aggressive and the earlier they are treated the better. Love your reference to "the laying on of hands"! That cracked me up. (If only the exam would heal the thyroid as is implied by that phrase...ha!)

I will pursue an ultrasound at the very least and if anything abnormal is detected I'll go from there so at least I know what I'm dealing with and can rest easy if it's papillary cancer less than 1 cm. My endo is a thyroid specialist who's been in practice forever and I trust him on most things but the c-word is not something I'm willing to leave to chance. Thanks, Harri3t for your helpful feedback.

-Shirlanne

 
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Old 11-25-2017, 09:25 AM   #7
stargazer0505
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Re: Possible thyroid cancer but no tests planned

So did you get a second opinion? What happened? Did you get an ultrasound?

it's funny how doctors are different. My doctor (primary care) felt a lump on my lower thyroid when i was in his office for another reason. He got me an ultrasound in short order, then a biopsy less than a week later... a papillary thyroid cancer! I had no idea. I guess they say it grows very slowly, but... there are variants (i don't have any). imo why wait until it's over 2 cm and it may have spread... no one likes to think of cancer in their neck! Obviously I am no specialist and not even in the health field, but I won't mind losing my thyroid and going on replacement therapy. Just me.

So let us know what is going on!

 
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