According to a story from nbcwashington.com, Nikki Ferraro was diagnosed with a rare type of thyroid cancer when she was just seventeen years old. While she was able to survive her disease, Nikki realized that there wasn’t much in the way of support for teens with cancer. She decided to take action by starting the organization Bite Me Cancer!, which specifically supports teenagers with cancer and supports thyroid cancer awareness and research.
About Thyroid Cancer
Thyroid cancer affects the cells of the thyroid, a gland located in the neck which plays a role in the endocrine system. Rates of thyroid cancer have been rising in recent years, but this probably due to more effective detection methods. There are a number of risk factors for thyroid cancer, such as exposure to radiation, prior thyroid disease, the genetic disorder multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2, and enlarged thyroid, and family history. Women and people of Asian descent are more likely to be affected. Symptoms include a noticeable lump in the neck, vocal changes, neck pain, and enlarged or swollen thyroid. Treatment for thyroid cancer may include surgery, Iodine-131, radiation, or other medications when the cancer has metastasized. Although survival rates vary depending on the type, the overall five year survival rate is 98 percent in the US, which is better than most cancers. To learn more about thyroid cancer, click here.
Helping Teens With Cancer
One of the ways that the organization reaches out to patients is with support bags for patients while they are in the hospital. Spending lots of time in the hospital can be both stressful and frightening. Support bags contain items such as adult coloring books, a journal, stress ball, and other activities that can help patients take their minds off of their situation and help pass the time.
“I just want to be able relate to them and know that, like, they’re not in this alone, and I’ve been there, and I want them to be happy when they get it.” – Nikki Ferraro, thyroid cancer survivor
To learn more about the activities of Bite Me Cancer!, you can check out the group’s website here.