Wednesday, November 4, 2015

More 'wonderful' news for me

I have to stop reading the news, damn it. I have tried to wean myself off the news, particularly medical news, Then I stop feeling educated and start feeling like a stupid patient. And if I stopped reading all news I could skip all elections and their related stupidity and inanity. But I haven't been able to stop, so I keep reading medical news and sometimes I find all sorts of stuff I may or may not want to know.

So today I have all sorts of  'great' news' I am not sure I wanted to know, well some I do like and some I don't.

First let's start off with the news that in view of huge increase in thyroid cancer diagnoses, new recommendations are that small papillary thyroid cancers be left alone and not treated.

"An increase in thyroid cancer diagnoses has led to unnecessary biopsies and surgeries. New guidelines from the American Thyroid Association endorse close observation as a possible treatment option for many small papillary thyroid tumors rather than surgery. The guidelines also caution against biopsies for many small tumors and say that when surgery is required, partial — not total — removal of the thyroid should be considered."

After a total thyroidectomy, the usual treatment for any thyroid cancer, the patient is left without a thyroid and requires lifetime follow up and medication. Thyroid cancer is slow growing and some unlikely to ever cause problems for the patient. This isn't that bad and it does show more progress in thyroid cancer treatment - instead of the usual 'one size fits all' approach.

Second, patients who are diagnosed with thyroid cancer and breast cancer are tested for Cowden's syndrome, a genetic trait which is characterized by the diagnosis of several cancers.

"Approximately 1 in 200,000 people are affected by Cowden disease and those who have the disorder have about an 85% lifetime risk for breast cancer and a 35% lifetime risk for epithelial thyroid cancer. Cowden disease is also associated with elevated risks for uterine, kidney and colon cancers."

I was tested for Cowdens and told I did not have it. And was told that I could have another mutation for which a gene had not yet been discovered. Now "Researchers have discovered a new gene, SEC23B, associated with Cowden disease, an inherited disorder that increases risk for thyroid, breast, endometrial and other cancers." This is real progress in that more than one gene mutation can cause similar problems.

So maybe there is a gene for me which would explain my unhealthy body. A note about gene mutations is that they do not have to be inherited, they can mutate just for you.

I saved the best for last. Rheumatoid arthritis has been shown to shorten your lifespan. Yippee yahoo. I needed to know that.

"Rheumatoid arthritis may raise the risk of early death by as much as 40 percent, with heart and respiratory problems the most common contributors to a shortened life span, a new study suggests."

And did you  know that some RA medications can cause respiratory problems? Since my diagnosis I am back to yearly chest x-rays.

See I really need to stop reading medical news. Its bad for my mental state, whatver that may be.

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