September brings awareness to thyroid cancer in hopes that more people will become conscious of what it is and how to prevent it. Thyroid cancer is often times overlooked, and the importance of understanding what the symptoms are in addition to regular check-ups can make quite a difference in someone’s life.
While studies show that women are more susceptible to thyroid cancer, this cancer can be successfully treated. There are many types of thyroid cancer – follicular thyroid cancer, medullary thyroid cancer, anaplastic thyroid cancer and more. Your physician can properly address the type of cancer and treatment options available to you. In the U.S. there are about 62,000 new cases of thyroid cancer diagnosed each year, and about 1,800 are fatal. It is important to understand what thyroid cancer is and the signs to look for when performing routing self-evaluations at home. This is one man’s story of being diagnosed with cancer and what he is doing to educate himself on this disease.
“I didn’t know what thyroid cancer was.”
Meet George, a single father who was recently diagnosed with thyroid cancer early last year. He is currently undergoing treatments and hopes to one day be on the road to remission.
“It started out years ago. I had a lump on my neck which I just flat out ignored. I mean, for YEARS. I was always so busy with work and my girls that I really didn’t have time to go and stop by my doctor’s. I feel really foolish about it now. I had considered myself one of those Average Joe’s you hear about that doesn’t like doctors or anything remotely resembling a hospital. I just never thought it would happen to me.
The lump just kept getting bigger and bigger, until finally after trying to hide it under my shirts I finally gave in and went to see my physician. He said it was a tumor, and assured me that I would be fine.
Beginning that day, the last year has been a blur. I went in to have the left side of my thyroid removed along with the lump. My doctor told me the tumor they removed was the size of an apple. That’s pretty heavy stuff to take in, but that it wasn’t cancerous, which made me feel better. I was supposed to return the following month for a follow up.
A few weeks later I received a call from my doctor asking me to come back in. I felt like something was up, but wasn’t sure just what. We sat down and he told me that the tumor was in fact cancerous, and I had thyroid cancer. I left the hospital that day and broke down in tears in the parking lot. I knew nothing about cancer, and my first thoughts were of my girls.
I joined a support group for people with cancer and it made me feel better to speak to people going through the same thing. I’m still learning new things about my particular cancer and undergoing treatments. I feel like I am not alone.”