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Life Redefined: Thyroid Cancer News Edition

Post Published: 19 July 2011
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Category: Column, Life Redefined, Thyroid Cancer in Young Adults Column
This post currently has 6 responses. Leave a comment

Vitamin D isn’t exactly a rare topic of conversation around this community because of the role it plays in thyroid health. Let’s take the conversation one step further by examining this study that looks into the relationship between thyroid cancer and Vitamin D3, the active, useable form of the important nutrient. Scientists have discovered that nearly all forms of papillary thyroid cancer, the most commonly diagnosed type, are accompanied by an over expression of a gene known as CYP24A1. I know, the name of the gene alone sounds all scientific and confusing. Let’s get a little less formal (because hello, that’s how we do around Dear Thyroid) and just call the gene Sybil.  What does Sybil do? She sends a message out in our body that results in the deactivation of vitamin D3. Vitamin D3 has been shown to slow the growth of tumors in multiple cancers. So, yeah, I want my vitamin D3 to stay active. But, if there are too many Sybils going all crazy, the vitamin D might become inactive which means it’s not slowing the growth of tumors. So what’s the proposed solution to stop Sybil from deactivating the glorious vitamin D3? I dunno. Hopefully those scientists are working on that little part of the problem.  Be sure and talk with your doctor about your level of vitamin D3 to make sure you’re getting enough.

It doesn’t take a scientist to know that metastases are quite unfestive. However, it does take a scientist to figure out how these thyroid cancer cells are traveling to other parts of the body. A researcher at Ohio State gives some insight into migrating thyroid cancer cells. In his study, the scientist classifies metastatic thyroid cancer cells as either short-dormant or long-dormant.  Short-dormant cells escape the thyroid and enter the bloodstream, attach to some other organ, and begin mutating almost immediately. On the other hand, long-dormant cells escape the thyroid and enter the blood stream, attach in another location in the body, and lie dormant for an extended period of time before growing. In some cases, these long-dormant thyroid cancer cells can be dormant for years before becoming active. The take-away: if you’re a thyroid cancer survivor, make sure you keep following up with your endocrinologist to keep tabs on your thy-health.

Good news for all you recipients of radioactive iodine—there’s now a cleaning product to help rid our homes of the nuclear residue we’re leaving behind during our treatment. Put the sanitation wipes away and bust out Bind-It, the radioactive iodine clean-up kit!

Those who have had radioactive iodine before can attest to the fact that there is a laundry list of rules to follow to protect others from secondary radiation exposure. Flushing the toilet three times, using separate dishes from others in your house, using your own bathroom, washing sheets and towels and clothes separately. The list goes on and on. However, according to the makers of Bind-It, our efforts to minimize secondary exposure to others in our household may be futile. They claim that common household cleansers and detergents cause the radioactive iodine to become airborne, thus allowing the radiation to migrate to other rooms in your house. Bind-It, however, supposedly traps the radioactive iodine in the Bind-It solution, allowing surfaces to be cleaned in a safer manner.

Does this really work? I have no idea. But the product is expensive (one kit costs $85) and the Bind-It website is pretty much void of any scientific proof to back up their claims. The concept is great; I want to take all the steps I can to prevent my family from being exposed to harmful radiation. But personally, I need a lot more than a compelling argument before I dish out $85. Without solid proof of concept, my money is staying in my pocket.

Thyroid cancer is too often referred to the good or easy cancer, particularly in reference to papillary or follicular thyroid cancer. These cancers are touted as the best cancers to get. Here at Dear Thyroid, we know this is not only ridiculous, but also offensive. We know that there is nothing good or easy about thyroid cancer, and we do all we can to erase the stigma that suggests otherwise.

Some recent research published in the peer-reviewed journal Thyroid sheds more light on the subject. This research spotlights a variant of papillary thyroid cancer (you know, the “easy” one) called diffuse sclerosing papillary thyroid cancer. This type of papillary thyroid cancer (PTC) tends to be quite aggressive, spreading farther and quicker than the more typical PTC. Diffuse sclerosing PTC also causes the tissues it invades to sclerose, or harden. This aggressive form of PTC also seems to affect a younger age bracket, with the average age of diagnosis of diffuse sclerosing PTC ten years younger than the average age of diagnosis of typical PTC. Just what all the young adults wanted to hear, right? The researchers do state that this variant of PTC is quite rare, but I think every cancer survivor reaches the point where statistics don’t mean much. At least that’s the case for me. After all, I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer when statistics suggested the nodules would be benign.

If you have been diagnosed with papillary cancer, talk to your doctor about this more recently classified variant of the disease. Make sure your doctor is aware of this variant so he/she knows how to treat you properly.

And that concludes today’s segment of thyroid cancer news. My hope is that you use all of this information to become a more empowered patient. If there is anything you need help with, any research you’re looking to share with your doctor, don’t hesitate to contact me. You can email me anytime at joanna@dearthyroid.org.

xo,

Joanna

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6 Responses to “Life Redefined: Thyroid Cancer News Edition”

  1. Melissa Travis says:

    My dear Joanna,

    love you! love this important research for people!!
    xx
    Melissa

  2. Joanne Naso says:

    Thanks for sharing! I especially like the Vitamin D3 info . . . will definitely follow-up with my endo!

    I enjoy your positive “voice”!

  3. Christy Lynn Estey says:

    Thanks for sharing. I underwent RAI in August of 2008, and had no idea that the radioactive iodine could become airborne. Unbelieveable! Thanks for being such a positive voice for all us Survivors and those soon to be Survivors as well. 🙂

    • Thank YOU for being part of this community, and for standing with other survivors. We need to stand together and remind each other that WE CAN be empowered patients!

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