Dr. Adrienne Stewart
September is Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month. Instead of an ice-bucket challenge this month, I want to encourage our EndoANP members to screen your patients and consider the following stats on thyroid cancer:
- Thyroid cancer is the most common endocrine cancer and has had the fastest increase in the incidence of any cancer in recent years.
- It occurs in all age groups but two-thirds of cases occur between ages 20 and 55.
- More than two-thirds of the people with thyroid cancer are women.
- Thyroid cancer is usually treatable when detected early.
- The prognosis for most thyroid cancer patients is very good, however, recurrence can be up to 30%.
- The most frequent type of thyroid malignancy is papillary carcinoma. Other thyroid cancer types include follicular, medullary, anaplastic, and variants.
- The American Cancer Society’s estimates for thyroid cancer in the United States for 2014 are:
Many cases of thyroid cancer can be found early. Patients may not have any symptoms at all, may report a lump or swelling in their neck, or may have difficulty swallowing or speaking. It is important to examine the thyroid during routine physical exams and to recommend that patients examine their own neck at least twice yearly and those with thyroid disease do screening ultrasonography yearly. If suspicious nodules are found, fine needle aspiration (FNA) has become one of the most useful and accurate diagnosis tools for thyroid pathology.