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ThyCa: Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Association Urges Patients and Caregivers To Read New Thyroid Cancer Guidelines from American Thyroid Association

02/2006

ThyCa Web Site (www.thyca.org) Offers Information and Support

Patients with thyroid nodules or the most common types of thyroid cancer, as well as their physicians, now have an informative new resource: The American Thyroid Association’s (ATA) updated guidelines for diagnosis of thyroid nodules and treatment of papillary and follicular thyroid cancer and their variants.

The guidelines, pre-published in January 2006 at
(http://www.liebertonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1089/thy.2006.16.ft-1) and in the
ATA journal Thyroid in February 2006, give 85 recommendations, together with background information and more than 300 references.

“On behalf of thyroid cancer patients and families, we congratulate and thank the American Thyroid Association for this valuable new resource for physicians and patients,” said Gary Bloom, Board Chair of ThyCa: Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Association, Inc.

“ThyCa was proud to provide a grant to ATA to help support the development of these important guidelines,” he added. “Education is central to ThyCa’s mission, and these guidelines will greatly aid patient and caregiver education. We invite thyroid cancer patients and family members to read the guidelines, to aid their communication with their physicians about their diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up monitoring, based on their individual needs.”

The ATA first published guidelines on this topic in 1996. The new guidelines take into account the significant advances in the diagnosis and treatment of both thyroid nodules and differentiated thyroid cancer since then.

ATA’s 10-member Guidelines Task Force, composed of experts in endocrinology, surgery, and nuclear medicine from leading academic and research institutions from across the United States, included five of ThyCa’s medical advisors, as well as three additional thyroid cancer specialists who have spoken at ThyCa conferences. In addition, the authors of the medical literature reviewed to develop the guidelines included more than 40 specialists who have spoken at ThyCa’s annual international conferences and other educational events.

“These new guidelines will help physicians not well-versed in thyroid cancer to better manage their patients,” said ATA Task Force Chair and ATA President-Elect David S. Cooper, M.D., Director of the Division of Endocrinology at Sinai Hospital of Baltimore, Maryland, and Professor of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “In addition, for those who are very experienced thyroidologists, the guidelines should help them manage complex cases as well as understand the controversies better and where further research needs to be done.”

The guidelines also address many controversial treatmentissues. These include identifying the most cost-effective approach for diagnostic evaluation of thyroid nodules, the extent of surgery needed for small thyroid cancers, the appropriate use of thyroxine suppression therapy, the role of recombinant human thyrotropin, and the use of radioactive iodine to ablate remnant tissue following
thyroidectomy.

The recommendations also address the importance of the timely and accurate diagnostic evaluation of thyroid nodules to rule out thyroid cancer and on therapeutic strategies for differentiated thyroid cancer, which represents approximately 90 percent of the estimated 26,000 cases of thyroid cancer diagnosed each year in the United States.

The guidelines include hands-on information for the follow up and treatment of thyroid nodules, including the role of medical therapy. The goals of therapy for differentiated thyroid cancer, strategies for staging thyroid tumors, the role of adjunctive external beam radiation and chemotherapy, and long-term management issues are also provided.

“I am gratified that the ATA had the foresight to develop evidence-based guidelines that will enable physicians who care for patients with thyroid disease to do so rationally, judiciously, and cost effectively,” said Dr. Cooper.

The American Thyroid Association is a nonprofit professional medical society composed of physicians and scientists dedicated to enhancing the understanding of thyroid physiology and pathophysiology, improving diagnosis and treatment of thyroid diseases, and promoting the education of physicians, patients, and the public about thyroid disorders.

ThyCa: Thyroid Cancer Survivors' Association, Inc. is a national nonprofit 501( c) (3) organization providing person-to-person support, support groups, a free downloadable low- iodine cookbook, a free online newsletter, awareness materials, and other resources to thyroid cancer survivors, their families, and the public at no charge. ThyCa also funds thyroid cancer research grants, sponsors Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month in September, and will hold its 9th annual international conference in Orlando, Florida, on October 27-29, 2006.

For more information, visit www.thyca.org, write PO Box 1545, New York, NY 10159-1545, call toll-free to 877-588-7904, fax to 630-604-6078, or e-mail to thyca@thyca.org.


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