Sunday, March 8, 2015

I did it wrong - thyroid cancer before breast cancer

A new study shows that women who have breast cancer have a higher risk of thyroid cancer for years after diagnosis. I did it wrong. I had thyroid cancer first. (I would have been happier without either to be perfectly honest.) I am the ultimate rule breaker.

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, there was concern that I might have Cowden's syndrome, a genetic mutation which includes breast and thyroid cancers as part of its characteristics. I took a test, and I was told I did not have it.

Now all of sudden is it important to test all women with breast cancer for thyroid cancer and increase surveillance for a number of years as well? I am not sure, even though the study says so. First of all, didn't I blog yesterday about the increase of thyroid cancer all over? Second of all, didn't we have several conversations about over-diagnosis of cancers?

Just because we have all this new cool technology, doesn't mean we are using it to its best advantage. I have strong feelings about overdiagnosis. But that is another blog topic. Maybe tomorrow, but no promises.

The study purports that the increased risk for thyroid cancer may be due to radiation exposure or even possibly due to Tamoxifen. So perhaps the focus of this should be to reduce toxicity of breast cancer treatment - and that is yet another potential blog post.

And perhaps a better understanding of these numbers should focus on the causes of thyroid cancer and why women with one are more likely to get the other. Instead of a rush to start monitoring all breast cancer patients for thyroid cancer.

1 comment:

Rebecca said...

I look forward to reading your posts about overdiagnosis ... It is something that I think is really important to talk more about ...