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Cancer of the Thyroid, and it has spread. Any survivors here?

(53 Posts)
QuintessentialShadows Wed 14-May-08 16:27:42

Just had a phonecall from my sister. She went for a check up as she has had some thyroid problems. Turns out she has cancer, and it has spread. She was on the bus and on the way home, so couldnt talk much. She was half hysterical, what is usually the prognosis? The tumours in her neck are many, and large as grapes, and in clusters, much like grapes. sad

God I wish she was here and not in Spain, and I would just hold her close. sad

Blandmum Wed 14-May-08 16:30:51

I can't help with specifics I'm afrain.

Don't start googling, it is seldom helpful.

If you want online information look at the macmillan and cancer bacup sites, as these give good, level headed information.

Remember that the stats are retropectivem, and that survival rates now tend to be higher as treatments have improved. Whatever the outcome everyone is an individual. They gave dh 3-6 months in Dec 2006. He is still with us.

Hugs to you and I hope that things go well for your sister

QuintessentialShadows Wed 14-May-08 16:37:21

I have read some of your posts MP, cancer is not so unknown to our family, as my mum has a rare form of bone marrow cancer, had had the last 15 years (though it is now starting to get progressive). But does your dh have cancer of the thyroid (or did it start that way?)

Actually, you mentioning MacMillan is scaring me shitless, as I thought they were for the final stages....

QuintessentialShadows Wed 14-May-08 16:38:29

My sister lives on the Canary Islands though, not sure if she will receive great treatment there. She had a biopsy 2 years ago and was diagnosed with goitre, but no cancer.

cmotdibbler Wed 14-May-08 16:40:26

Thyroid cancer is really treatable, and the radioiodine treatment is pretty straightforward (small drink, then sit around in hospital for a few days whilst the tumour takes up the radioactive iodine)

Blandmum Wed 14-May-08 16:41:11

Oh no, dh has pancreatic cancer, I really don't know anything about thyroid cancers.

Macmillan will help in the late stages but they also provide information for all stages of cancer, and it was in this latter capacity that I was thinking for your ds. Sorry to have scared you!

QuintessentialShadows Wed 14-May-08 17:02:53

Thanks MP, I will go have a look at their site.

And thanks for reassurance cmotdibbler.

bundle Wed 14-May-08 17:04:13

do you know what kind of thyroid cancer?

fruitcorner Wed 14-May-08 17:05:35

My friend had thyroid cancer last year and had her thyroid removed and radioiodine treatment. She is fine now although she will be monitored each year and must be on tablets forever as a result of her thyroid being removed. So don't panic presumably your sister will now have a further consultation at which she can ask some more questions?

bundle Wed 14-May-08 18:11:11

recent radio programme on the thyroid, including piece on cancer

sagacious Wed 14-May-08 18:19:19

Tenerife has excellent hospital facilities IIRC (my parents live there) they boast (constantly) about how much better they are compared to the English ones.
HTH

Desiderata Wed 14-May-08 18:31:27

Blimey, Quint sad

I've no advice for you, but I hope you're OK. It's so difficult when you're far away.

Apart from the phone, can you email her regularly?

QuintessentialShadows Wed 14-May-08 21:29:59

I just came off the phone with her. She is trying to be rational about it, a trained scientist by heart and mind. She is very scared, a single mum, and her dd is of course beside herself.

We will have to work out what is better, for her to stay in Spain and get treatment, or for her to come home where she has the support of her family. In spain she has nobody, and will need to hire a mothers help to be with her around the time of the op and following treatment, and it will mean she cannot come home with her dd for summer holidays. She has no GP here, and is not a member of the national health service, so she may not even be eligible for treatment here. I am going to get an appointment with our family doctor to talk to him about the options, if she can get treatment here, how long waiting list etc....

I just cant believe this is happening. She has so much other crap to deal with in her life, she has concluded dying might even be better for everybody concerned. sad Now that is not the best attitude to take to battle!

ssd Wed 14-May-08 21:33:02

I'm so sorry quint, for you and your sister and her child

sad

just sending all my very best wishes

ssd x x x

lilyloo Wed 14-May-08 21:34:05

so sorry sad

cmotdibbler Wed 14-May-08 21:44:12

If she is a UK citizen, with a UK passport, she can get treatment here on the NHS. Virtually no waiting list for cancer treatments - where (roughly) would she be moving back to ? I can try and find out exactly what things are like in that area if that would help

In her circumstances, I'd think that it would be better for her to have as much support as possible.

QuintessentialShadows Wed 14-May-08 21:49:08

We are in Norway. The national health has fantastic looking facilities, with steel and glass and marble floor, arts on the walls. But what does that matter when there are not enough nurses, not enough doctors, and waiting lists are normally from 6 months and up...

QuintessentialShadows Wed 14-May-08 21:49:09

We are in Norway. The national health has fantastic looking facilities, with steel and glass and marble floor, arts on the walls. But what does that matter when there are not enough nurses, not enough doctors, and waiting lists are normally from 6 months and up...

cmotdibbler Wed 14-May-08 22:01:58

I forgot you were in Norway. And its one of the few european countries that I don't have good contacts for cancer treatment too, although could ask some of my Swedish radiotherapy physicist friends what the cancer lists are like.

QuintessentialShadows Wed 14-May-08 22:24:25

Thanks cmotdibbler smile

neolara Wed 14-May-08 23:00:20

My cousin had thyroid cancer a year ago. It was completely removed and now she is fit and healthy, although she will have to take thyroxin for the rest of her life. I really hope your sister will be as easily treated.

At the time, I remember reading that if you were going to get a cancer, it was a "good" one to get, because it can be dealt with relatively easily and because the prognosis is generally good.

QuintessentialShadows Thu 15-May-08 08:17:58

Thanks neolara. I will make sure to tell sister.

PortAndLemon Thu 15-May-08 08:50:59

There are four types of thyroid cancer. I dn't remember the names, but basically one is a doddle to treat, rarely any long-term consequences, one is a bit nastier but normally responds well to treatment, one is quite a bit nastier and more aggressive and one is really very nasty (note use of brilliant technical language there).

My brother has recovered fine from thyroid cancer, but he had the second type. If your friend's has spead then there's probably a good chance that she has one of the nastier forms (which are rarer). Her chances, and what to do, will probably depend on which form it is and how far it's spread.

PortAndLemon Thu 15-May-08 08:52:16

sister, sorry, not friend blush.

QuintessentialShadows Thu 15-May-08 08:59:16

Thanks Portandlemon (good to hear your brother is doing good), she has her next meeting with her consultant on the 5th of the next month, when the result of some further tests are due. I guess we will be on tenterhooks till then. I read there is one form that spreads to the lungs... keeping the fingers crossed.

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