Did you know that nearly 20 million Americans live with some sort of thyroid problem? Most of them are not aware of their thyroid issues and find out only during a routine doctor’s visit. Women are more likely to develop thyroid problems in comparison with men.
Unfortunately, some thyroid issues are severe and patients develop thyroid cancer. They need to follow thyroid cancer treatments to control this life-threatening disease. Being diagnosed with thyroid cancer is not an easy thing and any patient usually has a lot of questions about this.
If this happened to you or a loved one as well, keep reading to find out what are your options for treatment. You’ll also discover what questions to ask your doctor regarding your diagnosis.
1. How to Cope With a Diagnosis of Thyroid Cancer?
Cancer develops when the cells of human tissue become severely damaged. They get through mutations that compromise the health of these cells. In severe cases, the cancerous cells can spread to other tissues, that’s why cancer can be a life-threatening disease.
If this happened to you or a loved one, a good question to ask your doctor would be how to cope with this diagnosis. How to deal with the stress associated with this type of disease? Fortunately, licensed oncologists can help patients diagnosed with cancer to get over this difficult situation.
Those diagnosed with thyroid cancer should seek assistance from support groups and oncology professionals. There are special telephone lines that can be called to receive support and guidance by phone. The advice of a professional can be enormously beneficial for a cancer patient.
2. What Are My Treatment Options?
Although getting a cancer diagnosis is a difficult pill to swallow, there are multiple types of treatments that can help a patient. It’s important to speak with your doctor and find out what treatment options are more suitable for you.
The type of thyroid cancer you have might influence the type of treatment you need. For example, surgery is usually an option for removing tumors grown on your thyroid gland. It’s possible to remove most of your thyroid tissue or just a small portion.
You can also take advantage of chemotherapy. This is less common when it comes to thyroid cancer, but it can be effective. It involves injecting different types of chemicals through one of your veins. The chemicals will kill growing cells, including the cancerous ones in your thyroid gland.
Your doctor might also prescribe you radioactive iodine. This substance is taken as pills and it will reach the damaged cells in your thyroid. Radioactive iodine can be combined with other treatment options that suppress the production of TSH. When the TSH levels are high, they can accelerate the development of cancer.
3. Do I Need to Change My Diet Before and After the Treatment?
What you eat can influence how your body works, including the activity of your thyroid gland. You should ask your doctor if it’s necessary to make diet changes, especially if he/she decides that thyroid surgery is the best treatment for you.
Most clinics have a registered dietitian in their staff. If you need to change your diet, you should talk with this dietitian at length. Ask what types of foods and drinks you’re allowed to eat and drink as well as what foods are an absolute no-no.
4. Does the Treatment Come With Side Effects?
Most treatments come with side effects, especially those that involve administering powerful drugs and substances. If you opt for a natural cure for thyroid cancer, these side effects are usually minimal. You should have a discussion with your doctor about the potential side effects of your thyroid cancer treatment.
For example, one of the side effects of administering radioactive iodine consists of loss of taste and smell. You might also have to deal with a dry mouth, mouth pain, and excessive fatigue. In some cases, patients can develop eye inflammation too.
Chemotherapy also comes with its fair share of side effects. For example, vomiting, fatigue, hair loss, and constipation are some of the most common side effects of this type of treatment.
Talk with your doctor and make sure you are fully aware of the potential side effects before beginning a treatment plan. By doing so, you’ll know exactly what to expect from your treatment and you’re more likely to follow it to the end.
5. Does My Insurance Cover the Costs of Thyroid Cancer Treatment?
Once you have established the treatment option, it’s time to find out if your insurance covers it. Ask your doctor how much of the treatment is covered by your insurance. Are there extra payments or fees you need to know about?
It would be a good idea to have this discussion with your insurance agent as well. Ask your insurance company how much they can cover when it comes to thyroid cancer treatment. These questions will help you prepare the right budget in case your insurance company doesn’t cover the full treatment.
6. How Many Patients With Thyroid Cancer Have You Treated Before?
This is also a very good question to ask your doctor. You want your health to be in the hands of an experienced healthcare professional, right? If you ask your doctor about his experience level and he says that he already treated tens or hundreds of patients with thyroid cancer, this is a good sign.
On the other hand, if your doctor seems to be quite inexperienced, maybe it’s time to find out a second opinion. It would help you to discuss with another doctor who is more experienced and can handle your personal healthcare better.
Now You Know What Questions to Ask About Thyroid Cancer Treatments
As you can see, there are many types of thyroid cancer treatments out there. Your job is to work with your doctor and find a treatment method that’s appropriate for you. Asking the questions mentioned above will help you clear out your doubts and develop more trust in your healthcare professional.
For more useful tips and tricks on how to deal with dangerous diseases and their symptoms, make sure that you check out the other articles on our website.