Health Beat

Health Beat: Thyroid cancer increase

Health Beat: Thyroid cancer increase

DALLAS - For eight years, Mitzi McCabe, now 48, felt like she had the flu all the time. She had no energy and had trouble breathing. Doctors discovered she had low thyroid levels. She was treated with steroids and gained 120 pounds over four years. Then came a potentially deadly discovery.

"They removed both lobes of the thyroid plus two nodules off of my thyroid. One of them was malignant, had cancer in it, and then they removed two parathyroid glands," McCabe said.

"We're seeing thyroid cancer in younger patients than what we typically think of when we think about cancer," explained Dr. Anand Shivnani, a radiation oncologist at Baylor Scott & White.

Researchers say that obesity and environmental exposure to radiation as a child, as well as flame retardants in household objects may be to blame for the increase. After surgery, Mitzi was treated with iodine-131, a radioactive isotope in pill form, which kills any cancer cells left behind after surgery. but she had to be isolated.

"I was radioactive for five days," said McCabe.

"She's done great," Shivnani said. "Her treatment went perfectly."

"I feel 10 times better than I did. I feel so much better than I did before," McCabe stated.

Now McCabe is losing weight and happy to be active again.

Doctors report McCabe is now cancer-free. Researchers say more advanced screening and diagnosis is helping catch these cancers at an earlier stage.


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