Thyroid Basics

How Thyroid Cancer Survivors Can Thrive

By: Mary Shomon, Thyroid Expert
How-Thyroid-Cancer-Survivors-Can-Thrive-Thyroid-Refresh

Average reading time: 2.5 mins

If you’re a thyroid cancer survivor, first, let us offer you a big hug! You have faced the challenge of a cancer diagnosis and surgery and are moving forward. So, what’s next? We want you to know that you can thrive after thyroid cancer. Let’s take a look at how it’s done!

Be Knowledgeable

People with thyroid disease who feel their best almost always take an active part in their own healthcare. And that starts with being informed about your condition: the recommended treatments, necessary follow-ups, and medications.  It may seem like a great deal to learn, but ThyroidRefresh® can help.

We not only help you stay up on the latest information about thyroid health, but also connect you with a dedicated community of thyroid patients and advocates who, like you, are committed to feeling and living well.

We also recommend that you connect with the Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Association (ThyCa), a helpful non-profit support group for thyroid cancer survivors and their families.

Follow Up Diligently

As a thyroid cancer survivor, you will need periodic follow-ups with your doctor to monitor for cancer recurrence. Your doctor may recommend that you follow a low-iodine diet and go off your thyroid medication prior to a thyroid scan. You may need periodic tests of Thyroglobulin (Tg) (a marker for thyroid cancer). Your doctor may order periodic ultrasounds or PET scans. Whatever follow-up your doctor recommends, it’s important to be diligent about it. Even when you’re feeling great, don’t be tempted to put off appointments or tests, because regular monitoring can keep you healthy and cancer-free.

Understand Your Thyroid Hormone Replacement Treatment

After thyroid surgery, you will become hypothyroid. You will need to take a thyroid hormone replacement  drug—usually levothyroxine to start—for life. Thyroid medication is needed not only to provide the thyroid hormone your body needs to survive, but proper medication also reduces your risk of thyroid cancer recurrence.

It’s important to know the symptoms of hypothyroidism, as well as your options for optimal treatment. Be aware that not everyone feels their best on the standard treatment (a levothyroxine-only drug like Synthroid or Levoxyl). Some people feel better with the addition of liothyronine (Cytomel) to their levothyroxine, or a switch to a natural desiccated thyroid (NDT) drug, like Nature-throid or Armour Thyroid.

If you are struggling with hypothyroidism symptoms after thyroid cancer treatment, don’t hesitate to advocate for yourself with your physician—and seek a second opinion when necessary.

One important question to ask your doctor: “Do I need a ‘suppressive’ dose of thyroid medication?” A suppressive dose keeps your thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) level as low as possible to prevent recurrence of certain types of thyroid cancer.  Find out if this approach is recommended for you, and if so, which targeted TSH level your doctor recommends.

Take the Best Care of Yourself

In addition to thyroid cancer monitoring and careful treatment for your hypothyroidism, it’s important to take a bigger picture approach to maintaining and improving your overall health. This means, for example, eating well, maintaining a healthy weight, getting enough sleep, staying hydrated, managing your daily stress, and moving your body. All of these practices support your immune system, can improve your energy, and help you feel your best every day.

We know that can sound daunting, but you don’t have to go it alone! We’ve created the ultimate tool to help you implement a thyroid-healthy lifestyle so you can live a vibrant life, free of residual symptoms. Join our next THYROID30® challenge, and you’ll have tools, resources, motivation, and accountability galore—not to mention an amazing community of new friends who share your health goals. We’ve had lots of thyroid cancer survivors make amazing progress and achieve life-changing results using THYROID30®. It’s a fun and empowering way to help you keep track of your health every day!


UP NEXT: THE IMPORTANCE OF SLEEP AND SLEEP HYGIENE FOR THYROID PATIENTS

 

Mary-Shomon-Thyroid-Refresh

About the Author

Mary Shomon is a patient advocate and New York Times bestselling author of 13 books on health. Mary has been researching, writing and teaching about thyroid disease, hormonal health, weight loss, and autoimmune disease for two decades. In addition to her books, you can find her writing at www.Verywell.com and www.HealthCentral.com, and catch her PBS Healthy Hormones television specials. Follow Mary on Facebook.