The hidden factor behind the thyroid cancer 'epidemic'
by P.F. Louis
Statistics show thyroid cancer as the fastest growing cancer type today. The American Cancer Society reported almost 45,000 new cases in 2010.
Mainstream medicine's solution is to remove the thyroid after inconclusive tumour testing. Unfortunately, the vast majority of thyroidectomies are unnecessary.
Keith Heller, M.D., a surgeon who has performed over 1,000 thyroid operations in 28 years, addressed a medical conference with this shocker: "I do not believe that this epidemic of (thyroid cancer) is real. It is due to... the increasing use of ultrasound-guided needle biopsy of thyroid nodules. ...”
“We are performing far too many unnecessary thyroidectomies."
The ultrasound guided needle biopsy conundrum
With this testing apparatus came a dilemma. The tests were good at finding nodules in the thyroid, but inconclusive regarding malignancy. Absolute certainty of malignancy is not determined until after the thyroid is partially or wholly removed.
A high profile example occurred recently involving the president of Argentina, Cristina Hernandez. After testing, a thyroidectomy was ordered. After the thyroid was removed, no cancer was found. This practice is considered acceptable under standard of care guidelines. If there is any suspicion, cut it out.
In other words, the ultrasound guided needle biopsy is usually not conclusive about any small tumours or growths found in the thyroid gland. This has happened so often that some doctors say surgery should be avoided for microscopic papillary nodules under 5 mm in diameter. They urge a wait-and-see policy.
Many humans carry tiny thyroid nodules around until they die of other causes. They tend to be benign or not an immediate danger even if cancerous. In Finland, these tiny nodules are considered normal when discovered. So they get to keep their thyroid glands.
Dr John Cronan, in a June 2008 issue of Radiology, claimed the practice of using ultrasound machines for detecting thyroid nodules makes patients cancer-phobic, then leaves them with lifelong dependency on thyroid medications after the thyroidectomy reveals there was no cancer. He added that this is done with little regard for the patient to "control a cancer with a 99 % 10 year survival".
Maybe the $ 15K to $ 20K cost for a thyroidectomy that guarantees a lifetime of medications and office visits has something to with this surgery surge.
Dr Jeffrey Nach recommends natural desiccated thyroid from pigs over the synthetic thyroid hormones used for patients who have had their thyroid glands removed. This form contains both T3 and T4 hormones with some T1 and T2.
Synthetic thyroid hormones usually contain only T3 or just T4. Even if both are contained, they tend to be less effective.
Patient advocate and author of several books on thyroid and hormonal issues, Mary Shomon, thinks the latest extension of testing for thyroid cancer might eliminate a lot of unnecessary thyroid removals.
The Afirma Thyroid FNA Analysis extends the ultrasound guided FNA (Fine Needle Analysis) with a series of tests to confirm or rule out malignancy. Currently lab facilities are limited and many doctors may not know of his extended procedure. The procedure runs around $ 3,500.
Dr Nach likes the wait-and-see or less-is-better approach for mainstream medicine. He reported Dr Ito's findings, which observed very few nodules grew significantly from first observations. Ito recommended avoiding aggressive surgery until the nodules reached 10 mm.
A wise move could be to avoid mainstream medicine for thyroid and hormonal problems, except for testing perhaps. It's possible to take those issues under your own control.
A good start could be looking over Dr Naches' free eBooks, downloadable at -- http://www.drdach.com/Dr_Dach_Books.html