Comparing Thyroid Cancer Patients With Other Malignancies

More than half of a cohort of adults with thyroid cancer identified disease recurrence; quality-of-life deterioration and familial risk as areas of concern following diagnosis, according to findings published in Thyroid. “Considering the excellent survival of patients with differentiated thyroid cancer compare with patients with other malignancies, this finding highlights the need for more patient education,” Maria Papaleontiou, MD, told Endocrine Today.

Papaleontiou and colleagues distributed questionnaires that assess degrees of worry relate to thyroid cancer to 2,215 adults from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) program registries from Los Angeles and Georgia who had develop the disease between 2 and 4 years prior and were free of disease at the time of the survey. Initial diagnoses occur from 2014 to 2015.

In addition to recording demographic and medical information; the survey ask questions relate to how participants felt about their treatments; their condition’s effects on their quality of life; how it might affect people in their family’s risk; also the chance that the disease would recur and death. Answers were given on a 5-point Likert scale; also the researchers note that indicating anything other than “not at all” worried was used to define a state of worry.

Thyroid Cancer concern

Cancer recurrence was a concern for 63.2% of the participants. Concern that their family would be more susceptible to the condition was report by 58% of the participants. Quality of life becoming worse was a worry for 54.7% of the cohort. Treatment harms or complications were a worry held by 43.5% of the participants; also death was a concern for 41%, according to the researchers.

In addition, thyroid cancer concern negatively affect the lives of 63.1% of participants base on survey responses. Isolation from family members and friends was report by 44.8% of the participants; also feeling upset about their condition was report by 88.2%. According to the researchers, men were less likely to be worry about negative effects of treatment and their families being more at risk compare with women.

Participants aged 44 years or younger were more likely to report worry about all aspects than older participants; with the ORs for each type of worry reaching a significantly lower mark for those aged 45 to 54 years, those aged 55 to 54 years; also those aged at least 65 years; save for when it came to concerns about treatments for those aged 45 to 54 years.

Harms from treatments

“Our finding that Hispanics and Asians were more likely to worry about harms from treatments; also death compare with whites indicates a need to focus on these populations with interventions to reduce unnecessary worry,” the researchers wrote. “These results provide new insight on the role of race/ethnicity on cancer; which relate worry in thyroid cancer survivors that has so far been lacking.”

The researchers note that a diagnosis of depression was report by 17.4% of the population before cancer development and that these participants were more concern about the effects of the disease on quality of life (OR = 1.31; 95% CI, 1.03-1.66) than those who did not have diagnose depression. In addition, compare with participants without any comorbidities; those with at least two were more likely to express worry about treatments (OR = 1.47; 95% CI, 1.09-1.98) and death (OR = 1.39; 95% CI, 1.02-1.89).

“It appears that there may be a disconnect between actual thyroid cancer risks; also patient perceptions of risk,” Papaleontiou said. “Additionally, patient worry about death may be an inappropriate driver for more intensive care; also even in those patients who are at low risk. Our findings suggest a need to reduce worry across the care trajectory in at-risk patients with favorable prognosis.”