Patient Reaction to the diagnosis of possible or definite thyroid cancer.
S.Pitt et al
- 85 patients interviewed before thyroid surgery.
- Many had 1 cm nodules.
- Initial shock anxiety, fear, and strong desire to get it out.
- After that a period of urgency lead to the need to get it done.
- Waiting for the surgery was difficult.
- This series of reactions was the same for both suspicious nodules and cancer nodules.
- Waiting for the surgery while the cancer was still in their neck and also could be spreading was difficult.
- Surgery was the way to return them to normal.
- This lead to many minimizing the risks of complications with surgery.
- Education about the risks with this slow growing cancer reassured some but not all about the dangers of surgery.
- Patient reaction to the diagnosis pose a barrier to barriers to implementing less aggressive treatment methods.
- This is why offering active surveillance AS instead of surgery is not acceptable to many patients.
- Recent use of radiofrequency ablation for small papillary thyroid cancer is now being used in many centers as a third track to surgery and AS.
- “GET IT OUT” Actual quotes from some of the 85 patients in the study.
- “It’s Cancer” “Just hearing the word cancer was a little hard” “I think I was in shock”
- “Get it Done” “It needs to come out” ” I am anxious to get it done and over with” ” I care less about the scar” ” I care how I look but it’s most important to get it out.”
- “It could be spreading” “I got alot of hopes on this surgeon” ” Get it done and over with.” ” To top it off it had to be cancer.” ” Take it out” ” It may be slow growing but what if it got into the lymph nodes?”
- “Surgery will fix it” ” I am going back to normal and routine the way it was before I had the diagnosis.” ” I can’t wait until I am able to say I am cancer-free, and it was just a small bump I had to deal with.”
- 1/3 of the 85 cases had small nodules that were possible candidates for AS or RFA.
- At my center I am offering Thyroid RFA for small thyroid cancers and indeterminate nodules as alternative to surgery or active surveillance.
- Call me at 310-393-8860 or email to [email protected]
- Ask for Alicia.