Thyroid Cancer is now the #1 cancer among young women in Canada

Article taken from Princess Margaret Patient and Family Newsletter, June 2009, Issue 6

By Grace Wright, Thryvors volunteer

Every April the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) provides Canadians with the latest statistics relating to cancer in this country. The report (available at www.cancer.ca) serves as a way to measure recent trends in the rates of, for example, incidence and survival, according to such parameters as type of cancer, province, age and gender.

This year’s report placed thyroid cancer at the top of the list of new cancer diagnoses among young adults. In response to this news, the Canadian Thyroid Cancer Support Group (Thry’vors) and patient educators across Canada are ramping up their efforts to increase awareness of this disease. As recently as seven years ago thyroid cancer was considered a  cancer because it occurred in less than 2.2% of the female population. However, its rate of incidence has been steadily increasing and now it is estimated that 4.5% of women will develop this type of cancer in their lifetime. The report further estimates that almost 1 out of 5 young women (ages 15 to 29) who will be diagnosed with cancer this year will be told that they have thyroid cancer. The more troubling news is that the chance of a young adult surviving a diagnosis of thyroid cancer has decreased slightly, from 100% to 99% – the only one of the major cancers to strike young people that worsened in regards to five-year survival rates.

While the prognosis is still very good when compared to some other cancers, thyroid cancer is a cancer to be taken seriously and the best first step is to learn more about it. A primary point of reference for information, coping resources and support for thyroid cancer patients and their families is Thry’vors, an organization developed and run by thyroid cancer survivors who work closely with medical experts from across Canada. Through their publications and online resources, they provide answers to frequently asked questions such as: Where is my thyroid and what does it do? What treatment can I expect if I’m diagnosed with thyroid cancer? Is it normal to feel this low even though I’ve been told that my prognosis is good? What is the Low Iodine Diet? What can I expect after treatment? What is there out there to help me adjust to my new normal?  For more information, please visit www.thryvors.org, or come by the Patient & Family Library at Princess Margaret Hospital between June 15th and 19th to visit the Thyroid Cancer Information display table.

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