Medical Questions > Cancer > Thyroid Cancer Forum

Minimally Invasive Follicular Thyroid Carcinoma

I had a 5cm cyst in my right thyroid gland which I had it removed last month and the pathology report came out as minimally invasive follicular carcinoma. My oncologist suggested that I get the remaining thyroid gland removed in order to proceed with iodine treatment. Is this necessary? What would be the long-term risks if I don't want to remove my remaining thyroid? I don't want to have to take thyroid hormone pills for the rest of my life, especially since I don't have health insurance anymore due to being laid off from my previous job.
Did you find this post helpful?
|

User Profile
replied February 10th, 2012
Extremely eHealthy
I hear a lot of people say that they don't want to take the thyroid pills, but the protocol generally calls for patients to take them anyway, even if you didn't have a total thyroidectomy, in order to suppress your TSH sufficiently to help prevent future cancer growth. You should talk to your doctor about this. With minimally invasive carcinoma, it may not be necessary.

You should also be aware that yearly or even bi-yearly follow-ups are generally recommended, involving exams, ultrasounds, and blood tests. This again, may be the case regardless of whether or not you have the second surgery. Again, you should talk to your doctor about the protocols that would be followed if you choose not to have the second half out and what the risks are with your stage and type of cancer.

Write down all your questions for your doctor and make sure they are answered to your understanding. You can also do some research on your own at thyroid.org, which has the recommended treatment guidelines for professionals (although they are in medical jargon, so they are a bit difficult to understand).

Also, thyroid hormone pills are relatively cheap (they have generic equivalents) and they are covered under some pharmacy savings cards, so you might want to look into the actual out-of-pocket cost. Perhaps you would be fine to have only half of your thyroid out, but I wouldn't make the decision primarily on the cost of the pills. Talk to your doctor and weigh all the factors. After all, you're not going to be without health insurance forever.
|
Did you find this post helpful?

User Profile
replied February 11th, 2012
Extremely eHealthy
Hold on a second...are you sure it was 5cm? Not 5mm?

If it really was 5cm, that is kind of...big. My nodule was only 1cm. And I could feel it on my thyroid with my fingers. If it was that big, I would seriously consider having the second half out if your doctor thinks you should. If the "cm" was just a typo and it really was "mm" then you can disregard my direness.

Also, the oncologist is correct that you do need to have the total thyroidectomy in order to have RAI treatment (if that wasn't understood). The purpose of RAI is to eliminate all thyroid cells in the body and then to scan for the places that "light up." If you were to have RAI without having the second half out, it would just be absorbed by that half, severely damaging it, but probably not really doing much else.

Again, sorry for being so dire, especially if it's unnecessary because of a misunderstanding, but I got to thinking about the "cm" vs. "mm" thing and I had to go back to see which you had written.
|
Did you find this post helpful?