In a recent New York Times article, “It’s Not Cancer: Doctors Reclassify a Thyroid Tumor”, Gina Kolata sheds light on a very significant breakthrough in the world of thyroid disease, explaining how after years of being diagnosed as cancer, a very specific type of encapsulated thyroid tumor has been reclassified. In effect, thousands of patients are being spared the risk of misdiagnosis and the unnecessary treatments that come with it. This means that the group of patients with this condition will now avoid removal of their thyroid, radiation treatment, and routine checkups for the rest of their lives. To be clear, Kolota emphasizes that the encapsulated follicular variant of papillary thyroid cancer, not papillary thyroid itself is the focal point in this new research initiative. The specific tumor being considered for reclassification refers to a little lump in the thyroid that is surrounded by a capsule fibrous tissue. According to the article, out of the 65,000 thyroid cancer patients in a year, this modification is likely to affect approximately 10,000 of them.
The Thyroid Care Collaborative (TCC) helps coordinate the care of patients struggling with any variation of thyroid disease, from benign nodules to cancer. By centralizing the health records of all thyroid patients registered for the TCC, physicians on the care team will have immediate access to up-to-date information and will better, more efficient treatment decisions, such as whether or not to perform surgery or suggest radioactive iodine therapy.