Why Thyroid Cancer Should Not be Considered the Good Cancer

October 22, 2021
Why Thyroid Cancer Should Not be Considered the Good Cancer

Written by Heather Burdo

Thyroid cancer is, unfortunately, commonly known as the “good cancer.” There’s no such thing as a “good” cancer but yet, when someone tells another person their diagnosis is thyroid cancer, it seems the response is usually, “Oh, at least you have the good cancer.”

While it’s true that most cases of this type of cancer are treatable, usually a significant portion of your thyroid is taken out; other times, the entire gland is removed.

The thyroid gland controls most cells in the body. Without it, you have to depend on thyroid hormone replacement, and it isn’t as simple as taking a pill every day. You have to find the proper dosage and medication, and even then, some people still struggle. Medication changes frequently.  

Sure, thyroid cancer is highly treatable--as long as it’s papillary--but let’s not forget the aftermath.  

Here are five top struggles people with thyroid cancer face:

#1 - High blood pressure

Not having enough thyroid hormone (hypothyroidism) can slow down your heart rate. Without a thyroid gland, you won’t have enough thyroid hormone. Having too little of this hormone also leads to the arteries being less elastic, which causes blood pressure to rise to circulate blood through the body.

#2 - Temperature and metabolism inconsistency

As your thyroid hormone level decreases, your metabolism slows down. Heat is generated through metabolism, and when it slows down, your body can’t regulate its temperature sufficiently. Most hypothyroid patients complain of being cold constantly. While this may not seem like a big deal, some people can’t even get out from under the blanket in the winter due to cold sensitivity. To put this in perspective, think of getting up from bed only to have to wrap back up in your blanket due to the cold being intolerable as the coolness literally feels like it’s going through your skin and bones.

#3 - Mood changes

Most people with low thyroid hormones will experience unstable moods. Depression and anxiety are the two main culprits. You can be fine one minute, and then in the same afternoon, you can experience such a sudden change in feelings and be completely depressed. It’s not uncommon for people with hypothyroid to feel like their quality of life is lacking due to such rapid changes in their emotions. Some people find that their relationships  can suffer from this, too.

#4 - Weight gain

It’s not as easy as going on the latest trendy diet. No matter how much someone reduces  carbohydrates, cuts out soda, or joins a gym, sometimes it doesn’t matter if the thyroid hormone level is off. The reason is because the thyroid gland helps regulate your metabolism and how your body burns food for energy. When your body is lacking the thyroid hormones, your metabolism slows down. You won’t burn calories like you should, which leads to weight gain.

#5 - Infertility

When the thyroid gland is not producing an adequate amount of hormones, it can interfere with the release of an egg from the ovaries, which leads to not ovulating at all. It can also cause a missing cycle altogether. Unfortunately, women who have unstable levels of thyroid hormones have a higher risk of miscarriage and premature birth if pregnancy is successful. It’s important to monitor thyroid levels even more when pregnant to ensure a healthy pregnancy.

Some cancer types are indeed more aggressive. This is not to make light of any other cancer type. However, it’s important to be mindful of the hurdles one may face after battling thyroid cancer and stop calling it the “good” cancer.  

 

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