Thursday, December 13, 2012

A New Tool for Thyroid Cancer Diagnosis

Thyroid cancer has the fastest growing rate of incidence in the US of any cancers. The standard procedure to diagnose thyroid cancer is the doctor presses on the patients throat and asks them to swallow - this is to feel for any nodules or lumps. Other symptoms may appear such as a swallowing problems, a sore throat or speaking problems.

 If a problem is suspected, the next usual step is an ultrasound to see if a determination can be made. 1/3 of all ultrasounds are inconclusive - meaning a determination can't be made to determine malignancy.

The next step is a thyroidectomy where the patient if benign will spend their life on synthetic thyroid hormone - which is not quite the real thing. The problem arises in that for those with inconclusive ultrasounds only 25% of them are diagnosed with cancer at their thryoidectomy. Or 75% have unneeded surgery.

But the new hero comes riding in in the form of a new gene test which has a 90% success rate for determining if thyroid cancer or not.

This means patients no longer have unneeded surgery which puts them into a life with out a thyroid which is  fairly significant issue. And it reduces costs for for the patient and the medical care.

Okay some good progress for cynical me.

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