According to recent estimates, approximately 62,980 people in the United States will be diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2014, a nearly 5% increase from 2013.Thyroid cancer affects people of all ages, from young children to seniors.Its incidence is rapidly increasing among all age groups, and thyroid cancer is especially common in women, who represent three of every four people diagnosed with the disease.
The nonprofit ThyCa: Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Association (www.thyca.org
) (“ThyCa”) provides free support services, education, and more to people worldwide. ThyCa’s free services include handbooks, education, support groups online, and face-to-face, one-to-one support, events, videos, webinars, and awareness materials to patients, healthcare professionals, and the public by mail, by ePubs, and via download from its website. Materials are available in seven languages: English, Chinese, French, Japanese, Italian, Russian, and Spanish.
Not a “Good Cancer”
“A common misconception about thyroid cancer is that it’s often called a ‘good cancer’ because the prognosis for most patients is excellent,” says Gary Bloom, executive director of ThyCa. “While most patients do well, this disease causes enormous life disruption and is stressful for patients and caregivers. Some thyroid cancers are aggressive and difficult to treat. Most patients face a lifelong risk for recurrence, and we all require health monitoring, as well as to take thyroid hormone every day of our lives. It’s also important to keep in mind that many of us don’t adjust well to our thyroid hormone and engage in long-term adjustment issues over this.”
“When a diagnosis is made, medical professionals can help connect patients and caregivers with free support services, educational events, and materials, helping patients understand the diagnosis and work effectively with their medical team.”
Encouraging and Empowering Patients
ThyCa provides a wealth of medically reviewed educational materials that medical professionals can receive from ThyCa for free to distribute to their patients, and Bloom encourages clinicians to use these resources to aid patients in their journey.
“These materials help patients and their caregivers learn about thyroid cancer and what to expect,” he says. “This support may help engage patients in their care, take their thyroid hormone replacement as prescribed, and maintain constructive communications with their medical professionals.”
ThyCa, urges everyone—including medical professionals—to learn about thyroid cancer and increase awareness about getting neck checks regularly during their medical appointments.
In addition to Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month in September, ThyCa also sponsors year-round awareness campaigns. In addition, ThyCa raises funds for research and has done so every year since 2003. These grants are open to researchers and institutions worldwide and have gone to researchers in five countries.
ThyCa is here to serve patients, caregivers, professionals, and the public. Everyone coping with thyroid cancer is encouraged to visit our website and become part of the thyroid cancer survivor community, and to benefit from ThyCa’s free services and resources.