Why Thyroid Cancer is Considered A Not-So-Bad Cancer Type

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The recent announcement by Brooke Burke-Charvet, the popular co-host of Dancing With The Stars, that she was diagnoses with thyroid cancer is bringing new light to the subject. According to the National Cancer Institute, every year more than 56,000 people in the United States receive the same diagnosis.

thyroid cancer
photo credits: nlm.nih.gov

It is important that we realize that fewer than 1,800 of these people die each year from this disease. With this kind of prognoses, some doctors say this is the “good kind” of cancer to have if there is such a thing.

Surgery is the most often used method of treatment for thyroid cancer, and that is what Brooke will undergo. She says that her doctor made it clear to her that this will be a “happily-ever-after experience because the only thing that she will notice after she has become accustomed to replacement thyroid hormones is the tiny necklace shaped scar.  

Another alternative treatment for thyroid cancer is radioactive iodine or w-ray beams to kill the thyroid and any cancer cells that exist there.

The butterfly shaped thyroid rests at the front of the throat and is generally unnoticeable. The function of the thyroid is to help regulate heart rate, blood pressure, weight, and temperature of the body. People, like Burke-Charvet, who have their thyroid gland removed, will for the rest of their lives have to undergo thyroid hormone treatment. This is usually in the form of pills.

Symptoms of thyroid cancer depend of the type of cancer an individual has. Here is a list of symptoms that may point to this condition.

• Difficulty swallowing

• Cough

• Hoarseness or changes in the voice

• Enlarged thyroid gland

• Swelling of the neck

• Nodule in the thyroid gland

Along with the symptoms, one should also be aware of the survival rate of thyroid cancer which gives cause for it to be called the “good cancer.” Here are some statistics that should encourage those experiencing this disease by their type.

• Medullary thyroid cancer: stage 1 survival rate is 100% stage 2 survival rate is 100% stage 3 survival rate is 93%

• Follicular thyroid cancer: stage 1 survival rate is 100% stage 2 survival rate is 100% stage 3 survival rate is 71 %

• Papillary thyroid cancer: stage 1 survival rate is 100% stage 2 survival rate is 98% stage 3 survival rate is 81%

When you compare these survival rates to that of cancer, one can see why it is known as the better type of cancer to have.

• Breast cancer: stage 1 survival rate is 96% stage 2 survival rate is 85% stage 3 survival rate is 52%

As you can see, oncology solutions for those with thyroid cancer have an advantage over those who are found to have cancer of the breast. Even though this sounds encouraging, the word cancer strikes terror in the hearts of anyone receiving the diagnosis, and there are a number of life-changing issues that must be dealt with. Saying that thyroid is the not-so-bad kind of cancer is not enough. One must first treat it effectively and then learn to adjust to the lifelong side effects that come with it.

Guest post written by Miguel Saldana.


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