What is low-risk thyroid cancer?
- Thyroid cancer develops in 5% of all thyroid nodules. Biopsy cannot always tell if a nodule is cancerous, but people can have molecular or gene testing to better determine the risk of cancer in their thyroid nodule.
- In recent decades, the number of people diagnosed with thyroid cancer has increased throughout the world.
- The most common type of thyroid cancer is papillary thyroid cancer (PTC). Most patients diagnosed with this disease, particularly if diagnosed at an early stage, do not die of thyroid cancer.
- “Low-risk” means that your chance of having thyroid cancer come back over time is low.
- People with this condition may have no symptoms at all or experience any of the following:
- Changes in voice
- Feeling a lump in the neck
- Trouble swallowing
What is molecular or gene testing?
- When a thyroid nodule is biopsied, the pathologist cannot always tell if the nodules is benign (meaning no cancer) or malignant (meaning cancer is present). These nodules are considered “indeterminate.”
- Molecular or gene testing helps doctors estimate the risk that a nodule is cancer.
- Several different types of molecular or gene tests exists. Some examples are the Afirma® and the ThyroSeq® tests.
How do you treat low-risk thyroid cancer?
- Patients with low-risk thyroid cancer or findings suspicious for low-risk cancer often have more than one treatment option, but not always. Choosing the best treatment option for you is important.
- The available treatment options depend on the size of the thyroid nodule and many other factors like family history, presence of other nodules, thyroid function, history of radiation, age, and sex. These are just some of the factors that affect the treatment option.
- In general, patients can have surgery with removal of the entire thyroid (total or near-total thyroidectomy) or part of the thyroid (also called lobectomy, hemi-thyroidectomy, or partial thyroidectomy).
- Select patients also have the option of “active surveillance”. Active surveillance is when the healthcare team closely monitors the cancer over time and advises treatment if it becomes necessary.
- Some patients also have lymph node removal (sometimes called a central neck dissection).
I have thyroid cancer, but my doctor is not a part of CHOiCE. Can I still participate?
Not at this time. If your doctor is interested in joining the CHOiCE Collaborative, they can contact us here for more information.
I do not have a definite diagnosis of thyroid cancer. Can I participate?
People without a definite diagnosis of thyroid cancer are eligible to participate. You are eligible even if your thyroid nodule is suspicious for thyroid cancer and your doctor provided you with a study brochure and passcode.
Can I take both surveys now?
No, we want to measure how your priorities and outcomes change over time. We will send you the second survey approximately 9 months after you complete the first survey.
How and when will I get paid?
The CHOiCE study team will mail you a check after you complete each of the two surveys in the 9-month period. You will receive $30 for completing the first survey and $45 for completing the second survey. After you login to complete the study, you will securely provide your name and address for the study team.
Who is the CHOiCE Study team?
- The CHOiCE Study team is led by Dr. Susan Pitt. To find out more about Dr. Pitt, click here.
- The CHOiCE Study team also includes Study Coordinator Sasha Rosser whom you can contact by clicking here and Associate Researcher Megan Saucke, MA. Click on their names to find out more about Sasha or Megan.
Who is Dr. Susan Pitt?
Dr. Susan Pitt is an Endocrine Surgeon, Health Services Researcher, and Assistant Professor in the Division of Endocrine Surgery in the Department of Surgery at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. Dr. Pitt is dedicated to improving patient-centered outcomes for patients with thyroid cancer. To learn more about Dr. Pitt, click here.