Regarding the question of surgery versus surveillance of the growing diagnosis of thyroid cancer , I became angry all over again as I read this article in Summer 2018 Vol. 17 No 3 issue.
I had an MRI for an orthopedic problem, but the only result was a node found on my thyroid that "needed to be checked out". I saw an endocrinologist who discussed everything about possible thyroid issues - including cancer. I just went through breast cancer surgery and treatments only a year before and now there would be a possibility of another cancer so soon.
After having a needle aspiration, the biopsy results were positive for papillary cancer. The endocrinologist wanted me to eradicate the threat of another cancer in my body by having a total thyroidectomy (TT). The surgeon told me something that stuck with me to this day, "More people die WITH thyroid cancer than OF thyroid cancer." At times I wish I heeded to that statement and just done surveillance.
When discussing a partial thyroidectomy versus a total, I asked my endocrinologist, "Who does this benefit - ME, by keeping half my functioning thyroid that I never had a problem with and barring no other complications or YOU, treating me with a clean slate?" She explained why BOTH of us benefited from a TT.
My cancer was less than a centimeter (.8) and encapsulated, which would have made my cancer Stage I, but after surgery, the pathologist found the other half of my thyroid presented a hidden .4 un-encapsulated cancer, which they made my cancer a Stage III.
So the debate in my head continues. Should I have just taken my chances while not knowing about the hidden un-encapsulated cancer or was I right in choosing the TT and getting it over with? I now take daily medication to replace my perfectly functioning thyroid that has been removed. But there is still that lingering question of how my health would be if I chose to surveil. I suppose there continues to be NO wrong answers when dealing with a diagnosis of thyroid cancer. I am a survivor! I am satisfied!
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