Yesterday morning I wrote about learning how many other cancer survivors are out there with second and third cancers. Then after going to the grocery store and gardening I needed to rest my back, I decided to read my latest issue of Cure Magazine. (A note about Cure, if you have/had cancer and don't read it you should. It explains new advances and information about cancer in easily understood language that doesn't talk down to you and covers real issues.)
Its latest issue covers three topics which are near and dear to my heart.
- Use of radioactive iodine in treating thyroid cancer particularly when treating those under 18. I was 19 so I think I can be included in this article considering my medical history. The article states: "Radioactive iodine should generally be prescribed for those at very high risk for recurrence or known to have microscopic residual disease and those with iodine-avid distant metastases,” the researchers wrote in The Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network. However, “RAI should be considered in other patients only after carefully weighing the relative risks and benefits and the aggressiveness of the clinical presentation, because RAI may be associated with an increased risk for second malignancies and an increase in overall morbidity and mortality.”" Yoo hoo!! Are you talking about me?
- Thoughts on avoiding over treatment in cancer treatment - There is such a thing as too much of a good thing. "...a growing number of people—from patients and caregivers to doctors and researchers—concerned about the balance between the risks posed by cancer itself and the risks of treatment. Several recent studies have documented “overdiagnosis” or “overtreatment” of people with certain types of early, slow-growing or low-risk cancers or even precancerous lesions—many of them picked up with increasingly sensitive tests.". I think they are hinting at a theme here...
- Another article referring to over treatment and node removal in breast cancer treatment. "Now researchers have found that a select group of early-stage breast cancer patients may not need ALND (Axillary Lymph Node Dissection) even if one or two sentinel nodes contain tumor cells. Skipping ALND eliminates common side effects of the procedure, including painful and chronic swelling of the arm, known as lymphedema, and infection. Yet again, less is best." I hate this. I am in this category so maybe I was over treated and now have lymphedema and shoulder issues as a result. But I will stop thinking that because there is no sense in regretting the past.
To summarize, I had thyroid cancer and was treated with Radioactive Iodine which is now shown to cause other cancers when used on young patients. I had breast cancer and had on small metastasis in one lymph node and had the surgery that has caused more problems. I have to just think that I was treated according to the standards at the time and it can't be undone. Isn't the cancer roller coaster fun when these fun little emotional side trips are added in?