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A must-listen for anyone touched by thyroid cancer, this conversation offers not only accessible information, it takes an interesting turn. We learn that the endocrinologist Ruchi Gaba and Richard both have experienced papillary thyroid carcinoma diagnoses and treatment. This lends the discussion a clinical and personal perspective that makes the information delivery even more helpful.

Listen and learn

  • What the basics on the different types of thyroid cancer are with corresponding treatments and survival rates,
  • How thyroid cancer rates are increasing over the past few years and speculation on why, and
  • What cutting-edge treatments are newly available such as a gene-therapy treatment that adds a year or more to an advanced thyroid cancer patient’s diagnosis. 

Ruchi Gaba is an assistant professor of medicine in the endocrinology division at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. She’s also the medical director for their Thyroid and Parathyroid Center, which addresses thyroid cancers and multiple endocrinal neoplasia.

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They’re a world class medical center that develops very individualized plans for every patient;

Dr. Gaba’s inspiration for the center came after her own experience with a thyroid cancer diagnosis left her keenly aware of the need for specialists who know exactly what to look for. She gives listeners a stellar line up of the basics, from discussing the four types of cancer and special issues and treatments for each.

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“Surgery is the main modality for any type of thyroid cancer,” she says.

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For the most common type of thyroid cancer, papillary, radioactive iodine is usually a follow up treatment, designed to kill microscopic cancer cells left behind after thyroid cancer surgery. She explains that some patients become iodine avid, which means the thyroid has less tendency to pick up the iodine. However, clinicians are now able to treat these patients with a new therapy that addresses this, enabling the thyroid to pick up the iodine again. Another “game changer” treatment she describes involves gene therapy, where they can now target cells with the particular gene mutation driving the cancer and kill those cells.

She and Richard each discuss their own personal experiences and address reoccurrence rates for thyroid papillary cancer as well as its growth habit. Listen in for a meaningful conversation about this growing health concern.

For more, see her web page at Baylor:

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