Thyroid Cancer / Nodules & Hyperthyroidism Expert Forum
Do I have cancer????
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Questions in the Thyroid forum are answered by Mark Lupo, MD. Topics covered include Goiter, Graves Disease, Hyperthyroid, Parathyroid/Calcium Problems, Thyroid Cancer, Thyroid Nodules/Cysts, Thyroiditis, Thyroid & Pregnancy, Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH), Thyroid Tests, and Thyroid Surgery.

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Do I have cancer????

I have had a "stable" nodule for 8 years.  Recently I have been losing weight.....NO COMPLAINTS..., fatigue, irritable, anxious, brin fog and trouble swallowing.  My ultrasound showed 2 enlarging masses, 1 in the isthmus 1 in left lobe, developing subcentimeter nodules in each lobe and a stable solid nodule in the left lobe.  I am going to ENT for consult and possibly biopy tomorrow.  Any thoughts from all who went through this.  I am a nurse but all this really scares me and I just want to get it over with as quick as possible.  
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97953_tn?1193367871
Would test thyroid function given the weight loss - sometimes nodules over-produce thyroid hormone and cause hyperthyroidism; in this case they are seldom cancer.

FNA biopsy is very accurate, but does have an approximately 2% false negative rate (2% if done properly).

Surgery would give definitive answers, but is not usually necessary unless there are compressive symptoms, overactive nodules (and I-131 not chosen) or a suspicious FNA.  If FNA benign and nodule(s) keep growing, then surgery would be more compelling.
8 Comments
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1058524_tn?1285190840
I am no expert, I can only rely on my experience. I had "nodules" not cysts. Nodules are more likely to produce a cancer possibility, but it doesn't mean you will have it. This is one crazy roller coaster, and no two experiences seem to be the same.

The most frustrating part is not knowing what is making you sick. Go for the biopsy tomorrow, and make sure they do many. Make sure they have done the bospsys many times and are skilled in them. I had four done. Mine came back inconclusive. I was frustrated that its either cancer, not cancer or inconclusive.

As a nurse you know the ups and downs of this entire roller coaster.

I was told 75% chance nothing...no cancer. I was told it's your CHOICE to have us look into it more, or wait, and see. I have little ones too, and I decided if my thyroid was making me sick...and it was possible I had cancer...then I really didn't need a thyroid. :)

My best advice, take it one day at a time. Be ready for any result, but know that this is something you can take to the mat, and kick it's a$$ if it is cancer.

You are a nurse, and a mom, you are one tough cookie! It's ok to be scared, we all get scared when control is taken from us.

All of us here, we will all be cheering for you each step of the way if you need us. :)
XOXO hugs
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1220228_tn?1274978283
I had a biopsy in 2003 and it was incunclusive.  I hope this time they get the right stuff.  If not I plan to push for a thyroidectomy and get it out.  I have so many nodules that swallowing is difficult at times.  Do they test the thyroid for cancer after removing it?  Do you start on meds right away?  Is it difficult surgery to recover from?  I think this forum is awsome.  What great resource to get info from people that went through it. Thanks so much!!! And by the way I thought your experience in the hospital was awful!!!!  I will never treat my patients like that.  I believe things happen for a reson.  I like to think I am allready a great nurse but sometimes being the patient give you more empathy.
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158939_tn?1274918797
Not a huge fan of the biopsies.  Two of my sisters had "benign" results on their biopsies but chose to have the surgery anyway (because of my cancer) - both had cancer.  If the nodules are making it difficult to swallow, and they are suspicious, both are valid reasons to pursue surgery (just my $.02).

They do send all of the thyroid tissue to pathology after surgery.  *If* you decide to have the surgery and *if* you are only going to have the one lobe and isthmus removed insist on having a pathologist in the OR to do a frozen cut-down right on the spot.  That way *if* they find cancer the surgeon can remove the entire thyroid.  That would be necessary for any future treatment.

If the results of the pathology are benign (or the cancer is small and contained) usually you will be started on thyroid replacement meds at that time.  Others who have multi-focal tumors or have cancer in the lymph nodes or spread outside the thyroid gland usually aren't started on thyroid meds because it interferes with the radioactive iodine (RAI or I-131).

I had the surgery twice and there have been 5 other family members who have had the same surgery.  All of us had the same result:  easiest surgery we've ever had.  Personally my surgeries were easier than any of the other surgeries I've had (and I've had 9) including the laparoscopic ones.  The key is to get a surgeon who has done a lot of these surgeries before.

For both of my surgeries I had them on Thursdays and went to work the following Mondays.

Probably the best advice I could give anyone trying to decide whether or not to have the surgery is to research and "follow your gut instincts".

My best to you

Utahmomma
papillary carcinoma '03, second surgery '04, recurrence and RAI '06
three sisters with papillary carcinoma (one with three recurrences/RAI)
daughter and another sister with precancerous nodules.
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1220228_tn?1274978283
Thanks for the info!!  Personally I am pushing for the surgery and I am glad to see the recovery is quick.  I am a nurse and the main bread winner in my family of 5.  My husband works but I make more.  You could say a lot of people count on me.  This thyroid thing has been holding my back and I pray it is not cancer.  I'm so glad I found this site of people who can help my through this!!!  Thanks everyone!  Should I insist my sister get an ultrasound?  I don't think she has any symptoms.

Hoping for good results.....
momwithcrappythyroid :-)
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi!  Just found this blog!  I am scheduled for TT on Friday, 26th..just days away.  My biopsy was indeterminate...second opinion said up to 75% chance of malignancy and suspicious of follicular variant of papillary carcinoma.
This has been an extremely difficult decision..but I feel if the cells were abnormal on my biopsy that means something is going on even if my path report after surgery comes back benign..I'm praying it does.

I've had to do so much planning for this as we are raising our grandson ..almost 10 years old.
Now I seem to have a slight sinus issue...sinus are always an issue for me...I am so hoping they don't postpone my surgery...have appointment at my GP on Wednesday....
I just got myself to where I want to go and get it over with and move on...
Do you think I can still have my surgery...any opinions...and comfort...as much as I want to get it over...I am scared.

mommagrandma
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1220228_tn?1274978283
Well I saw ENT today and he said no to biopsy because he wants to remove it.  I have to wait to see endocrinologist which could take months.  Anyone know is it true they can't do a TT unless your levels are normal???? "Euthyroid"??????
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Avatar_f_tn
I had a surgery in 2003 , the results of the pathology was benign, but after half year later, these nodules came back to my left and right tube again. it's been another 7 years since first surgery, right now I just do every 6 monthes ultrsound to follow up. don't want to go through another surgery unless it's necessary.
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Thyroid & Endocrine Center of Florida
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