Survivors of Thyroid Cancer Remain Concerned About Quality of Life and Treatment Effects, Study Says
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Survivors of Thyroid Cancer Remain Concerned About Quality of Life and Treatment Effects, Study Says

According to a story from Medscape, a recent study is highlighting the fact that many thyroid cancer survivors are still worried about cancer-related problems years after the conclusion of treatment. The findings highlight the need for greater patient education as well as the necessity of more stringent efforts to ensure good quality of life following treatment and the addressing of patients’ legitimate concerns. This is even more remarkable because this cancer is generally regarded as one of the less serious forms that generally responds well to treatment.

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, 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.

Study Results

The study found that over 63 percent of patients worried about disease recurrence. 58 percent were concerned that their relatives could be at risk. 41 percent were worried about dying from cancer, 54.7 percent were anxious about their quality of life, and 43.5 percent were concerned about potential harm as a result of treatment. The researchers found that women, people of color, younger patients, and patients of lower educational level were more likely to experience cancer related worries after treatment.

The study authors contend that because thyroid cancer is generally regarded as a “good” cancer that can be treated more easily, patients’ concerns about treatment effects and quality of life are often more readily dismissed or ignored. The authors of the study have concluded that doctors needs to make greater efforts to inform patients on the risks of treatment and on thyroid cancer outcomes. In addition, more efforts must be made to address the concerns of groups that were more likely to have cancer-related anxiety.

Check out the original study here.