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Has anyone been a thyroid cancer survivor for more than 20 years

I am a 43 yrs old female with a solid nodule of 0.8cm for about a year without growing. After a biopsy I was diagnosed with papillary thyroid carcinoma so I have to have a total thyroidectomy on August 20 cause doctor cant do it before. Doctor said we wont know anything for sure until after surgery. I dont know if it will be too late, I am afraid it will spread. I have been reading the rate survival, and some say it is a 5 to 10 yrs but other say it is a 20 year or more. I am very very scared. My life and the life of my kids and husband have been changed upside down. We just sit there, no say anything, no one smiles but everyone is pretending like everything is ok.

Is there anyone that has survived this cancer for more than 20 years or many years? Please I need only positive answers...I need hope
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First Helper User Profile MyrahU
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replied June 7th, 2012
Extremely eHealthy
Of course people have survived this cancer for more than 20 years!

That's just how they list out the survival rates for all cancers. They don't mean that people die after that long. With Papillary Thyroid Cancer, 80-90% survive AT LEAST to the 10 year mark. That's amazingly high! Some sources even put it higher than that (saying above 90%). After 10 years, they sort of stop counting. You can't track people forever.

My ENT told me that he once read a study where they found that people with early-stage thyroid cancer actually lived longer than the general population and they thought it was because they got a higher level of medical care through their lives. After all, we have to go to the doctor a least once or twice a year, get blood tests, all that. Some people don't ever go to the doctor, even when something's wrong. We know better.

What you have is treatable and very very very probably curable. You could have gotten something a whole lot worse. I know this may sound weird, but this is a time to be grateful. They caught it early, they know what it is, they can do something about it. The treatment is much easier compared to other cancers. If you do have RAI, it's a weekend out of your life, not months of chemo and radiation. NO hair loss or anything. You're also not in any pain. So many things to be grateful for.

Above all: you have a family that loves you and will be there for you. It's the summer time. Go take your kids to a water park or go camping or plant a garden. Live life. Smile

I hope that helps, at least a little.

--Myrah
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replied June 13th, 2012
You will be fine
Hi, I have friend who had thyroid cancer in 1995, to this day she never had any problems. The only thing she has to do is to go for checkups and take medicine always. "Although thyroid cancer is still a cancer that requires treatment and lifelong monitoring, and can have debilitating effects on patients, survival rates are, high, with 95% of all thyroid cancer patients achieving what would be considered a cure, or long-term survival without re-occurrence" and since you are only 43 years old you have a very good chance. I hope everything goes well with your surgery and your recovery is quick. Try not to be depressed and worry which will wear you down, you will be fine. Everybody in the family has a good reason to be happy since you are being taken care of and your life will be saved. Take care, be well and be happy.
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replied June 18th, 2012
Please try not to frighten yourself. My surg was 1998...and I am still here. Albeit not quite the 20 year mark just yet but I am getting there.

No one wants to hear it...but as far as cancer goes...you have one of the friendlier kinds...(thyroid that is) The surgery, the recovery and the leveling out of your meds post surgery is what is going to be the main challenge.
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replied June 26th, 2012
Thank u all for your comments. You have no idea how good it makes me feel. I just read of so many with the same condition that have a recurrence the same year or a couple of years later. I just want to know if everyone gets their cancer back most of the time.
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replied July 4th, 2012
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I don't think so. I don't know what the recurrence statistics are, but especially small papillary thyroid cancer is very easy to cure with thyroidectomy and RAI. They'll want to follow up with you every six months to a year indefinitely, just to be on the safe side, but that's just a precaution. I've never had even a hint of a problem. You'll need to have blood tests to make sure that your thyroid hormone supplements are at the right dosage anyway.
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