I am 43yrs old female and was diagnosed with papillary thyroid carcinoma after a biopsy from a solid 0.8cm nodule. The surgeon said I need a total thyroidectomy and that we wont know anything else until after surgery. Surgery has been scheduled for August 20 cause they are so full. I am so afraid that during this time it can spread and be worst.
I really dont know what to do. Should I look for another surgeon? But I am afraid that by the time I look for another surgeon and make an appointment and schedule another date it will be late too. I am dying from the inside. It is so hard to wait. I dont know how to deal with all these. I cant sleep, I cant eat, I dont want to do anything. I need helpppppppp I am going crazy.
I think you should get a second opinion, since you have so long to wait. I wouldn't worry too much about the wait, your particular variety is not as fast growing as some of the others, and this is probably why the surgeon was not in a big hurry. A lot of people have thyroid cancer and never find out. I'm surprised they are removing the whole thyroid just because of one nodule. Many times they will remove your whole thyroid to CONFIRM cancer, and find out afterwards there was no cancer, but that isn't necessary any more. You should check out this brand new test and see if it applies to you: http://thyroid.about.com/od/cancergoiterno
This genetic test is so new not every doctor knows about it. If you call the company they will tell you what doctor performs these biopsies in your area. The procedure isn't much different than the biopsy you've already had, but the test is much more definitive at diagnosing cancer. It's covered by insurance, as far as I know. Removing an entire thyroid after an "indeterminate" pathology reading is barbaric, imho. I'm not saying this is your situation, but the statement said "they won't know anything else until after surgery" leads me to believe that maybe they weren't sure...?
Papillary thyroid cancer has a very very high cure rate--80 to 90% for ALL cases. Also, your nodule is less than 1 cm, giving you even better odds. It being that small also means that it is unlikely to have spread beyond the thyroid, for one thing. Thyroid cancers also tend to be slow growing. It might get a little bigger (probably still staying under 1 cm in that amount of time), but it's not going to spread that quickly. Your doctor should have gone over all of this with you, but you can also look it up online. There is a ton of information about Papillary Thyroid cancer (just be sure to only look at the Papillary stuff, because the other types don't apply to you and no, they don't mistake one for the other once they've diagnosed it).
Has the doctor talked to you about Radioactive Iodine Treatment after your surgery? It's possible that he thinks it may not be necessary since your nodule is so small, but if you do have it, then what that does is remove ALL thyroid cells in your body that may not have been removed by the surgery, in case any cancer did spread (still unlikely). At early stages, it's usually used to make follow-up blood tests and scans more accurate. Then you'll have follow-up scans and blood tests, basically every 6 months to a year for the rest of your life to make sure everything is okay.
I went through all of this 6 years ago when I was 24. Been cancer-free ever since. I know that it's very scary. The waiting is *AWFUL*, I know. It seems like you're either waiting on an ultrasound or a biopsy or the surgery. But you are on the right track.
If you want to find another surgeon, you could try (just don't cancel the first appointment), but I think it's more important to have a surgeon that you trust, who has experience and will do a good job. If you aren't comfortable with the one you have, then by all means, keep looking.
Just please stop stressing yourself so much. You're not dying. Don't let this rule your life. Go out an enjoy things. Screw cancer! Don't let that little bump keep you from your life. Now go call a friend and go out and have a steak or whatever you want and celebrate life. Go do what makes you happy. Even if you don't feel like doing it, you might find yourself enjoying it despite yourself.
If you have more questions or just want to vent, please feel free to re-post. Best of luck to you.
Papillary thyroid cancer is one of the slowest growing cancers, it can take years for it to get bigger. I had a total thyroidectomy in March 2009 and was diagnosed with micro papillary carcinoma it was .5 cm. There is no treatment once they take it out other than to take Thyroid med Synthroid for any papillary cancers less than 1 cm
Please don't worry,