Weighing treatment options for thyroid cancer, with deep consideration for the patient’s lifestyle, could become the new norm in assessing whether surgery is the best path. Dr. Allen Ho states, “if a patient is a ballerina or an opera singer, or any other profession that could be jeopardized due to undesired consequences of thyroid cancer surgery, then the best treatment path maybe active surveillance.” Undesired consequences of thyroid cancer surgery could be vocal cord paralysis, damage to the parathyroid glands resulting in calcium deficiencies, excessive bleeding or formation of a major blood clot in the neck, shoulder nerve damage, numbness, wound infection, and mental impairment due to hypothyroid-like symptoms.
This is a candid interview with Dr. Gary Clayman about thyroid cancer surgery and making sure a patient gets the best available care. If someone is considering surgery, Dr. Clayman discusses related topics, including: Do not let a doctor operate on you unless the surgeon can prove to you that he/she has done a minimum of 150 annual thyroid surgeries, and for a minimum of ten years. This means, do not see a surgeon unless he/she has completed a minimum of 1500 thyroid surgeries. Damage to voice box nerves is preventable, when surgery is done right. 90% of thyroid surgeries done in the U.S. are by doctors doing fewer than fifteen thyroid surgeries per year
You have been diagnosed with thyroid cancer, and choose no surgery. Although thyroid cancer diagnosis has spiked around the world, a trend is to pass on surgery if the cancer is identified as low risk. In doing so, mortality rate does not increase and it avoids unfavorable events sometimes related to surgery, such as vocal chord paralysis, hypothyroidsm, financial costs, and lifelong thyroid hormone treatment. In this episode, we visit with Dr. hypothyroidism, a pioneer in prescribing active surveillance in place of immediate surgery.