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Cancer

Son`s cancer

04/11/2008

Question:

Our son had a 2.2cm follicular cancer. He was being treated for a multinodular goiter and it was decided after several years that his thyroid should be taken out due to trachea being displaced. It was the size of a small grapefruit they said. Anyhow, they determined then that it was cancerous. He had I-131 treatment with 7-10 days isolation. Afterwards, body scan showed some still on the side of rhe throat. They said he`d need to do it again in a year. Does this mean it was an unsuccessful ablation? What are the risks, etc. now? The doctor acts like it`s all fine, no problem. That`s also how the other doctor acted about the multinodular thing. We just need to know risks and concerns, and what to watch for. They say they will check blood and will let us know if anything is wrong.

Answer:

Although the prognosis from this form of cancer is very good, you appear to be uncomfortable with the care so far.  Details of the operation, scans and any MRI or ultrasounds of the neck would need to be reviewed to better determine if the residual uptake in the neck was a small amount of normal thyroid which should be able to be ablated or a substantial amount of residual thyroid or tumor tissue which might be able to be surgically removed.  A second opinion at a university cancer center or a thyroid specialist may be helpful.

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Response by:

Jeffrey J Sussman, MD Jeffrey J Sussman, MD
Associate Professor of Surgery, Chief, Division of Surgical Oncology
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati