Why You Should Get Checked For Thyroid Cancer, From A Thyroid Cancer Survivor


By Casey Rose Frank

As of 2010, September has been dubbed Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month. While my interest in spreading the word stems from the personal; I was diagnosed with Thyroid Cancer in the fall of 2014, it is a disease that has seen a steady uptick in United States over the past few years, with 64,300 people predicted to be diagnosed this year.

Thyroid Cancer can affect people of all ages, but statistics have shown that more than three-quarters of patients are female. This September, I invite you to go and get a simple “neckcheck.”

A change in the appropriate size of your thyroid is so easily discovered that it was my gynecologist who noticed my enlarged thyroid. Thanks to her, I had a sonogram that day and then soon after, a biopsy for the nodule they found.

A recent article published by the New England Journal of Medicine has cited large swaths of over-diagnosis leading to patients having an unnecessary thyroidectomy. I wish that I hadn’t needed to have my thyroid removed completely; I understand that this article brings up concerns for people, like me, who will have to take hormone replacements for the rest of their lives, and even those will never be quite enough.

But when they took my thyroid, they took eight lymph-nodes from the area as well, to be biopsied to see if the cancer had spread. It had; one lymph-node came back positive for cancer cells. I received a round of radioactive iodine to destroy any remaining cancer cells. Since spring of 2015, I have been declared cancer free. If I had not had a thyroidectomy, the cancer could have continued to spread and my treatment could have been much more difficult.

This is why I urge you to not jump on the bandwagon of tweeting and re-sharing articles about the study, blindly creating fear in a way that could keep someone who needs treatment from seeking it out.

Here’s what you can do:

If you haven’t been to see a medical professional this year, make an appointment. See your general practitioner or even your gynecologist. Some drugstore clinics even have staff who can check your neck.

If you have been to a doctor this year, consider spreading the word about Thyroid Cancer or donating to the Thyroid Cancer Survivor’s Association.

Casey Rose is part of the Contributing Writer Network here at Thirty On Tap. To apply to become a Contributing Writer, please click HERE.

{featured image via pixabay}