Thyroid cancer is very much on the rise. But while it’s one of the fastest growing cancers — up 274 percent since 1997 — it’s still a rare disease. According to the American Cancer Society, 60,220 people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with thyroid cancer this year, and 1,850 won’t survive. Young women in their childbearing years are most at risk, though it can affect men, women and children of all ages. However, because thyroid cancer is rare, it’s not in the spotlight like other cancers. And the exposure it does get often overlooks some of the real issues that go along with this cancer.
I was diagnosed with metastatic papillary thyroid cancer with a follicular variant when I was 28 years old and it was quite a journey to that point (read my story here). Here are some things that I’ve learned, and what I feel patients and survivors need to hear: