Thyroid Cancer Patients Receive More Treatment Than NecessaryAugust 14, 2019
Thyroid cancer is one of the most treatable types of cancer and has one of the highest survival rates. In fact, over 98 percent of patients are cancer-free five years after they have been diagnosed. However, according to a recent study by researchers from Thomas Jefferson University, close to 25 percent of low-risk thyroid patients undergo unnecessary treatments that can have long-term health risks and financial implications. The study results may lead to new treatment protocols when it comes to treating patients with thyroid cancer.
The thyroid gland is located in the neck, over the airway, and it helps control heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and the way in which the body uses energy. Cancer can develop when cells in the thyroid gland grow out of control. The first step in treating thyroid cancer that has not spread to other parts of the body is to surgically remove the thyroid gland. The second step involves radioactive iodine ablation therapy, which is administered in the form of a pill. However, not all patients require the radioactive iodine ablation. In fact, according to a thyroid surgeon at Thomas Jefferson University, patients with low-risk thyroid cancer do not benefit from additional treatment after surgery. Overtreatment can put patients’ health at risk.
In the short term, patients who undergo this secondary treatment of thyroid cancer must stay away from small children due to the level of radioactivity that will be on their clothing and sheets. This can be very isolating for the patient. There are long-term impacts as well, including the risk for developing other cancers, such as leukemia.
Highlights of the Research
The researchers looked at over 32,000 cases of thyroid cancer, which they obtained from the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database. They found the following results:
- Over half of the patients analyzed were low-risk.
- Approximately 25 percent of the low-risk patients received radioactive ablation iodine treatment.
- Patients who were at the greatest risk for overtreatment included men, Hispanic and Asian patients, and patients who were younger than 65 years old.
- Young, healthy patients were more likely to be willing to receive additional treatments if they believed it would be beneficial to their health.
According to the surgeon, the research findings were interesting because it suggested that the physicians who treated these patients took a more aggressive approach to surgery and secondary treatments, even if they were not necessarily warranted. The guidelines outlined by the American Thyroid Association recommend the best treatment and specify when certain treatment options are unnecessary.
Baltimore Medical Malpractice Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Patients Who Received Unnecessary Treatment
If your healthcare provider has recommended a course of treatment that is unnecessary, and has caused other health issues, do not hesitate to contact the Baltimore medical malpractice lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. Whether you have thyroid cancer or some other health condition, overtreatment can be just as problematic as undertreatment. Our skilled legal team will determine whether your healthcare professional was negligent in any way and secure the maximum financial compensation you deserve. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent medical malpractice victims in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.