Those of you who follow me on Twitter know I was on my soapbox this morning after reading yet another article about the dreaded subject of how thyroid cancer is "the best cancer to have." Think about that...the best cancer? Why would someone say that?
In an attempt to make you feel better about having thyroid cancer, some health care profesionals try to convince those of us who have or have had thyroid cancer that it is "the best cancer to have" because it has a high survival rate.
An aside here, that high survival rate applies to papillary carcinoma, one of the three types of thyroid cancer out there. Survival rates are lower for medullary carcinoma and anaplastic carcinoma, the other two types of thyroid cancer.
Back on topic...OK, so tell us that papillary carcinoma has a high survival rate. Truly, that is good news. But because of this "best cancer to have" statement, and the fact that I was told my thyroidectomy would most likely be just an easy, overnight stay for me, you can imagine my shock post-surgery when I felt like my head was going to fall off, I couldn't eat real food for 7-10 days, and two of the four lymph nodes the surgeon took out of my neck were the size of small plums leaving me with some amazing pain and an extra long scar on my neck (which I now love...see old posts).
Then trying to figure out thyroid medication that I will take the rest of my life that sometimes makes me so tired I want to sleep on the floor of my office (never done this BTW) and has assisted me in gaining 20 lbs post-cancer.
And then there is the ever popular recurrence that approximately 30% of us with thyroid cancer get to deal with, which I did in January 2009.
So PLEASE....tell us the survival rates for papillary carcinoma are good, but don't tell us that it is "the best cancer to have." One of my favorite Tweeters and fellow cancer survivor said to me today in response to my Twitter soapbox rant about this: "I always reply: "then you go on & get it. let me know how awesome it is."
Neither she or I wish cancer on anyone. That's not the point. We know you have good intentions. The line about "the best cancer to have" is just not helpful....that is all.
Another twitter friend said we should endeavor to educate others that this is not a helpful statement. I hope by sharing here folks will understand and choose to say something else. Personally, I would rather hear "Wow, that stinks! You know, you're tough and can do this" than "the best cancer" line.
What are some things you could say besides thyroid cancer is "the best cancer to have"? Please comment...let's talk about this!
Getting off my soapbox now...again. :)