Local Doctors Bring Awareness to Thyroid Cancer - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Local Doctors Bring Awareness to Thyroid Cancer

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Doctors said the thyroid helps regulate weight, appetite, and overall wellness. Doctors said the thyroid helps regulate weight, appetite, and overall wellness.
KENNEWICK, WA- Thyroid Cancer is not the most common cancer out there, but it is something doctors at the Tri-Cities Cancer Center want people to be aware of, including when to be concerned.

The thyroid helps keep appetites in check, helps with weight control, and overall, keeps people comfortable.  If it is not working correctly, things could be just the opposite. 

Doctors said if people feel a lump in their lower neck, to get it checked, especially if it continues to grow.

"As it grows, it's possible that it could cause some hoarseness.  It could metastasize or spread to lymph nodes.  You might have a mass that's growing on the side of the neck, that's possible," said Dr. Juno Choe, Radiation Oncologist, Tri-Cities Cancer Center.

An ultrasound detects where those cancer cells are inside the thyroid.  After that, more research is done to see if it is actually cancer.

"When you have that result, you have various results that can come back.  If it is thyroid cancer, then you proceed to the next step," said Dr. Irene Feria, Endocrinologist, Tri-Cities Cancer Center.

Doctors at the Tri-Cities Cancer Center said there are nearly 60,000 thyroid cases diagnosed in the U.S. each year.  45,000 of those cases are women.

In 2013, there were about 50 cases in the Tri-Cities.

"For many patients, we don't really know why thyroid cancer develops," said Dr. Feria.

Doctors said do not be alarmed though.  There is actually a 95% survival rate.

"Thyroid Cancer is very unlike other cancers. When you hear the ‘C' word, most patients get very worried, and rightfully so, but I just want to emphasize that this is a very good prognosis.  Generally speaking, patients do very well," said Dr. Feria.

Doctors also said patients with a family history of thyroid problems should tell their doctor, or if patients feel a lump in your neck, they should let them know as well.

Most times it is not cancerous, but doctors said it is always good to be aware.