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Thyroid Cancer is the fastest growing cancer in America and its favorite targets are women. There are sign you should be looking for.
The lump behind her ear was enough to get Laura Bruser concerned.
Bruser, a nurse practitioner, says, “I went to an ENT doctor. He did a cat scan. Turns out I had nothing here, but they found a nodule on my thyroid.”
After she processed the fact it was cancer, the next tough hurdle was explaining it to her eight-year-old son.
She continues, “He just looked at me and said, ‘mommy, are you going to lose your hair?’ and, I said, ‘no, I’m not honey. It’s not that kind of cancer.'”
Bruser is among a growing number of women diagnosed with thyroid cancer which has tripled over the past 30 years. The doctor treating Bruser is considered one of the best thyroid surgeons in the world, Dr. Gary Clayman from Tampa General Hospital and Founder of The Thyroid and Parathyroid Institute.
Dr. Clayman explains, “If you’re a woman and you live long enough, you will develop thyroid nodules. Not necessarily thyroid cancer because most thyroid nodules are not cancerous.”
The American Cancer Society reports that women are diagnosed three times more often than men.
Bruser says, “They took out my whole thyroid. I had three nodules and they took out 22 lymph nodes as well.”
While it’s unknown why cases are increasing among women and there’s no way to prevent it, Dr. Clayman says most thyroid cancers don’t need to be treated right away because they’re not life-threatening.
Dr. Clayman adds, “90 to 95 percent of thyroid surgeries are performed in the country by highly inexperienced thyroid surgeons.”
Bruser’s symptoms were clear…pain in the front of her neck and trouble breathing.
She continues, “I was having problems swallowing and I was having horrible sleep issues.”
Only days after her surgery, Bruser was in the Jingle Bell Run with her husband and son.
She says, “We did that as a family, seven days after, so that felt great.”
If you do end up needing surgery for thyroid cancer, the scar is very minimal.