I am curious as to when I can finally say I am in remission or cancer free. I had my partial and then complete thyroidectomy in May due to Papillary thyroid cancer with follicular variance stage 3, my I131 in June and the follow up scan two weeks later.The scan only showed takeup in the thyroid bed. I am currently taking 150 mcg of synthroid and my TSH levels a too low to measure. I have more blood work in another 8 weeks. Do I need to wait for my follow up scan in 9 months to say I am cancer free?
The evaluation at 12 months after initial therapy is important. At that time a thyrogen stimulated thyroglobulin that is undectable (or at least <1) and a negative neck ultrasound confer a very high (99%) remission status. Stage 3 cancer suggests that you are older than 45 year and have either central compartment lymph node involvement or minimal extrathyroidal extension of the cancer. This may decrease the chance of remission as your doctor has probably already explained. Sometimes we need to consider papillary thyroid cancer as a chronic disease -- many patients have very low levels of microscopic persistent cancer that is monitored over time and not treated unless there is evidence of growth/aggressive behavior.
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