Thyroid Cancer

Hey, my name is Sarah and I am 17. I was diagnosed with papillary Thyroid cancer when i was 13. It is supposed to be one of the slowest growing forms and doesn’t usually move beyond the Thyroid. But mine had. It had move into my lymph nodes. I had a full thyroidectomy and some of my lymph nodes removed. Then had Iodine Radiation. I then relapsed when I was 16. I had another surgery to remove all of the lymph nodes on the right side of my neck along with the new tumor. ┬áBesides this setback, my life has been going pretty well. ┬áDon’t know what further treatment I will be doing yet, but I just take it a day at a time. If there’s anything I ca do to help anyone going through a similar situation, just get in touch with me!Hey

October 19, 2009 by  
Filed under Community

  • jose guillero

    Hi Sara, Nice to meet you.
    Im Jose Guillermo, Im near square side right from you.
    Im try to speak english a little, because my lenguage is spanish but I use my dictionary and can to practice.
    Yeah the cancer, mmm a hard word, but we teens can with this…
    I was diagnosed Sarcoma Ewing Soft Tissues in my back shoulder left. Now Im o.k
    one year treatment, and finish now.
    soon I hope come back school, in this moment work with my dad…
    I think we can to be friends…. tell me more about you.. and tell me if you can to see my foto… I use a cap blue… Bye

  • Leah Shearer

    Hi Sarah,

    I’m the program coordinator here at Teens Living With Cancer. Nice to hear from you. I’m a two-time cancer survivor myself and one of my cancers was thyroid. I also had (quite significant)lymph node spread or mets myself.
    Thyroid certainly has a lot of features about it that are different than a lot of other cancers.

    I have a feeling there are a lot more teens out there who have dealt with thyroid cancer.I betcha if you keep coming back…you will eventually find a teen who has gone through the same thing.
    In the meantime…if you ever need someone to talk to about it I’m here–

    Leah Shearer

  • jose guillero

    hello Sara,
    How are you today? Im fine… only want to say hello
    and dont forget to be happy and smile please, is a good medicine.

  • Allison Brady

    Hi Sarah, my name is Allison and im 15 too and was diagnosed with follicular thyroid cancer two months ago. I have had two surgeries since (one to remove the nogule and then one to remove my whole thyroid) plus the radioactive iodine. I guess you can say Im doing fine, i mean i could’ve needed chemo and it could’ve been a lot worse! But still, i think i made a major mistake by deciding to only tell like 15 ish of my closest friends instead of like the whole school and also by playing the whole situation down big time.Now i am contsantly getting awkward questions about the scar on my neck and no one seems to truly undestand how i feel and i feel like im just bothering my friends by confiding in them. its not like i want to be pitied, just to know that anybody cares! i guess you’ve been dealing with this for a couple years now, so i was wondering if you have any tips? Im sooo sorry that you had to go through this whole process too, it truly sucks. its great to see that im not alone here and i’d love to chat with you sometime about all this! Thanks, allison

  • Shiana

    Hey Sarah, I’m Shiana and I am also 15 years old. I have been dealing with Thyroid issues for a while now and they seem to be getting worse and worse. My mother plans to take me down to Mayo Clinic in Minnesota in December to get everything checked out. I was wondering if you had any significant symptoms before you found out that you had cancer? I hope you are doing well!

    • Sarah

      Hi, Shiana. Its nice to here from other people in the same boat. Have you ever been officially diagnosed with thyroid cancer??

      As for specific symptoms before hand, I didn’t have too many. The biggest one was the my neck swelled up pretty significantly. That was really the only reason that we knew something was up. Also my energy levels went way down. Sorry I don’t have to much too help. . . But if you have any other questions, feel free!! I hope you start feeling better soon :)

  • Danielle

    Hi Sarah, my name is Danielle. I am 19 and was diagnosed with thyroid cancer August 2010. I had a total and now am going to have iodine treatment the 22nd of december. I am starting to get extremely nervous for this! Can you tell me about your isolation period/what you did in the 5 days, where you stayed and how exactly you felt. It is weird that I have no one to talk about any of this with and it isn’t fair we have to deal with this at all. Wishing you good health!!

    • Sarah

      Hi, Danielle. So sorry to hear about your diagnoses.

      As for me, I was only in isolation for 3 days, but I know it varies for every person. I stayed in my moms room which had an attached bathroom. So it was nice to be able to stay at home, but I know not everyone can do that. I think the most difficult part was just getting bored. I would suggest having plenty of movies/television to watch to help pass the time. Also if you are a reader, bring lots of books. Also one thing I did was drink water like crazy! I know they already tell you to do this to help flush our the radiation, but I think I may have taken it a step further, to help make sure I didn’t have to stay in my room any longer than necessary. It was nice to be able to do something that I thought was helping. There really isn’t anything to be nervous about, I promise!! Feel free to talk with me as much as you want. I know it is nice to be able to relate to someone who has gone through the same thing. Hope your feeling well, and good luck!! Also try to enjoy your Christmas :)


    • Denise Shriver Elkins

      I had the radioactive iodine treatment after my surgery. I didn’t have to isolate myself but I was told not to kiss anyone and to flush the toilet twice after going to the bathroom. I had to do that for about 7 – 10 days (trying to remember since it was in 1982) Of course, how they do things can change drastically over the years. The best person to ask is your thyroid doctor.

  • Maddie

    Hi everyone! My name is Maddie, I’m 18, and was recently diagnosed with Papillary Thyroid cancer. I’m in college, so I’m getting it taken out as soon as the semester ends. It looks like it hasn’t spread to my lymph nodes, so I’m just getting my whole thyroid out.

    What was it like recovering from the procedure? Did they stick all those tubes and stuff inside you while you were awake? How much did each part hurt?

    I know those are really general questions, but I would love it if anyone could fill me in :)


    • Robyn


      I was diagnosed with Papillary Thyroid Cancer in February 2010 when I was 16. My first piece of advice is to take a notepad with you for after surgery. Talk won’t be easy, and if you have something to express how you’re feeling, you and everyone around you will be thankful. This is what I used and I highly recommend it for your bedside:

      I am extremely squeemish when it comes to blood, stitches, surgery, etc. and was NOT looking forward to having my thyroid removed. Luckily, you will have plenty of pain meds after surgery. Looking back now, I remember feeling pretty groggy after surgery for about a week. In the hospital you will slip and and out of sleep. I didn’t feel any pain. I was so out of it I didn’t know or care about what was giong on around me or any of the tubes or IV.

      I am also deathly afraid of needles. I was nervous about the IV used to put me to sleep before surgery. If this is an issue for you as well, talk to your Anesthesiologist about using Nitrous Oxide (a child’s sleep mask) to put you to sleep before starting the IV. Then once you are awake after surgery, you won’t even notice it’s there.

      Be sure to speak up if you are uncomfortable in any way in the Hospital. Nurses can change your medication doses or move your IV if you are in any pain at all. Don’t stress about any tubes. They will be in when you wake up, and like most things I have mention, you won’t care one bit! When they do take them out, that is no big deal either. You can’t feel them and it doesn’t hurt. I am easily nauseated and the anestesia did cause me to get sick in the hospital. Again, not something that I cared about at the time. I was pretty knocked out and sleeping for the majority of the time.

      Also speak up about the amount of time you want to stay in the hospital. The docotor told me I would be okay to go home after one night. If I could go back and change that, I would. If you think you need to stay another night, speak up. It took both of my parents holding me up to get me into bed at home on the second night. You might miss the hospital bed because it moves and makes it easier on your neck, which you won’t be able to move or strain by yourself. Do what feels right for you. Try getting into the hospital bed while it is flat like a normal bed at home and make sure you can do so comfortably before you decide to leave. You’ll need help getting into bed for a few weeks, but there is no need for you to be in pain getting into bed.

      A note about eating: though you may not feel up to it at first, it doesn’t hurt to eat. My first meal after having my thyroid removed was french toast sticks (I woke up and saw my dad eating MY breakfast, so I made it clear that I was ready to eat and that he was going to have to get his own food elsewhere). I recommend milkshakes and noodles as well.

      I know I’ve just given you a ton of information, but I hope it is helpful and calms your nerves. Let me know if there are any other questions I can answer for you. I’d be glad to. You’ll do great :)

  • Maddie

    thanks! i really appreciate your advice. my surgery is july 27th, i’ll let you know how it goes :)

  • Spokenforhim

    Hi girls, I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer at age 13. I am now 50 years old and doing great; and I had a healthy baby when I was 32. In 1976 when I was 13, I noticed what felt like a golfball sitting at the base of my neck. I had my thyroid, two lymph nodes and the tumor removed; then 100 millicuries of radiactive iodine to kill off the rest of the cancerous and thyroid cells. I had another dose (125 millicuries) ten years later. It has been hard to keep extra weight off, but that’s about all. Stay encouraged!

  • Denise Shriver Elkins

    I was 18 when I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer (grade 2 follicular). I am now 48 years old and no recurrences. Make sure your endocrinologist keeps you on a higher level of thyroid medication than what person without thyroid cancer takes. They have to keep your levels suppressed. Thyroid cancer can come back, even 10,20,30 years later. It is important to keep the TSH level suppressed for optimal management of thyroid cancer. Here is a good link

  • Ramona

    Hi, my name is Ramona, my daughter is going in for a ultrasound tomorrow. She is 13, wih me luck please… Scared!

  • Christine

    Hi guys!
    So, my best friend, who is soon gonna be my boyfriend, was diagnosed with thyroid cancer a few months before. He’s had the surgery and taken a radioactive pill, and so far so good, but there’s still a chance it could come back, and he likely has to take another pill. The doctor’s say only a 25%-35% chance it could come back. However, that’s the same estimate they gave us on if the tumor was cancerous or not, so I don’t believe their numbers very much anymore. >.> Anyhoo, needless to say, I worry a little about him. Cancer has already taken three people from me in the space of five years. I can’t loose him as well.
    I’m really just looking to talk with others who have gone through similar things as well, since I find people who haven’t gone through it are difficult to talk with. Much love, everyone. :)

  • Catherine

    I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer at 16 and had quite a lot in my neck! The surgery, which took place last September 8, took 5 and a half hours and afterwards I was in a lot of pain! I am having another surgery in the spring and hope that it isn’t as hard on my body. To everybody with similar stories: I know it’s hard but just try to enjoy your life because you’re a young kid and deserve to have fun! Don’t let cancer stop you from being happy and just try and use all that you have been through as a confidence boost; you are truly amazing, brave, and strong.

  • brenda

    My name my is Brenda. My daughter Sarah was diagnosed 2 months ago with papullary thyroid cancer. It went to her lymph nodes and she hsd 2 masses. We are wsiting to see if there will be .more surgery before RAI 131. I am a thyroid cancers survivor of 4 years now. I hate watching her go through this. Did any of you have lymph nodes with cancer? Just trying to learn all I can.

  • Lauren

    Hi everyone,

    My name is Lauren, and I am 17 years old. I recently underwent a rather routine thyroid ultrasound, which incidentally came up positive for a “mass”. The nurse who called me did not mention the size of the mass, but merely informed me that it appears to be a complex nodule (partially fluid, partially solid) and that I will need to follow up with an endocrinologist within the next few days. I was originally given the sonogram due to the fact that my thyroid appeared to be enlarged at my most recent physical. I am aware that I do have a slightly heightened chance of something coming back as malignant, due to my age, gender, and some other present symptoms. However, I’m trying my best to remain calm and not expect the worst until I get the results of my tests. What I’m looking for is some info regarding the diagnosis process. What types of tests did you all undergo? Why did your doctor initially suspect cancer as a possibility? Any information is appreciated!

    • sophie

      you’ll probably have an FNA and depending on the results of that have a total or partial thyroidectomy so they can get a better luck at it. even if it is malignant it has a very good prognosis, dont worry. good luck

  • Diane

    My daughter was 13 when she was diadnosed with follicular thyroid cancer. Had her surgery and is now 18. She seems to be doing ok but suffers with depression. I have found a counseler for her to speak with weekly. We still get nervous going for checkups

  • alondra

    Well hello Sarah my name is alondra im currently fifteen years old and i was diagnosed with thyroid cancer im not sure what it was called but it spread in to my lymph nodes and my vocal chords. i just got out of of the radiation treatment. it was just depressing and wow . The isolation kills me . i know some what of this cancer. Even before i was diagnosed my older brother was diagnosed when he was sixteen and i was 5 at the time so thats how i know of this cancer. but i was so shocking to me that i was diagnosed with it too im glad to hear your doing great. All of you . Ive read everyones comments amd you guys shown me that we all have to keep moving foward.

  • Amanda

    Hi guys. I found a small lump on my neck this morning when I woke up. I typed into google a lump on the side of my neck and it came up with thyroid cancer. Im so scared! just the thought of having cancer scares me! Im only 13. I haven’t seen a doctor yet. Im so scared I don’t want cancer!

  • Naomi

    Hi, I’m a 15-year-old girl and have a HUGELY swelled thyroid (my doctors tell me it’s something they have only seen in medical books, which isn’t exactly encouraging). It was noticed about 4 years ago, and I was told that it was hyperthyroidism, a disease in which the thyroid produces a chemical that speeds up my metabolism to unhealthy levels. I’ve been taking pills ever since, and they have lowered my metabolism to a normal level, but haven’t reduced the swelling. I thought I would have to get surgery eventually, but that it wasn’t a pressing concern.
    Fast forward to four days ago. I noticed that it was getting a bit uncomfortable to swallow, as if something was pressing into my esophagus. I immediately suspected my thyroid had grown, even though it shouldn’t have, if my blood levels were indeed normal. So I went to the doctor, and my mom said she was worried that I might have thyroid cancer.
    I’ve looked up a bunch of things online, and it doesn’t look that good. I’ve had lots of radiation in the past (I’m a previous cancer survivor), I’ve noticed that my lymph nodes are kind of swollen, there’s a family history of thyroid disease, and I’m a girl. I know I shouldn’t assume anything until there’s been an official diagnosis (and even so, the survival rate is very high), but I can’t help but worry.
    So I guess my questions are whether I’m right to worry (do the symptoms match up?), what my prognosis would be (since I’ve had a swelled thyroid for 4 years), and whether there are any negative aftereffects of surgery (since I’ll almost definitely have to get surgery whether this is cancer or not). The surgery is the bit I’m most concerned about, because it’s pretty much inevitable. I’d appreciate it if anyone could answer!

  • MamaBear

    Hello all! My 15 year old daughter was diagnosed with stage 4 papillary thyroid cancer in June. She had a total thyroidectomy, which included a parathyroid gland, and a very small portion of her trachea. She is feeling very alone and struggling. I do my best to keep her spirits up – I know first hand how much laughter and a happy attitude can help, and some days she’s ok, but other days are a struggle for her. She will be undergoing radiation shortly, followed by a 5 day isolation, and then her scan will be in August. We’re having a hard time finding other kids who have experienced what she has (the docs here are all stumped by her – teenagers aren’t “supposed” to get thyroid cancer), so this blog is a gem. If anyone would be willing to email with her about their positive experiences, etc – I think that would so beneficial to her! Hope each and every one of you are doing beautifully!

    • coltschick

      When waa she staged ? I have a 16 year old daughter just diagnosised with papaliary thyroid cancer new years eve no surgery yet were ststill trying to find one. I’m so worried hers will spread as well I’m so lost on what to do or how things will go. They told us she needs the whole thyroid removed and that’s all they have said so far. Please give me any feed back.

      • MamaBear

        Hi there! They will stage the cancer after surgery. Are you currently looking for a surgeon, or do you have one? We used an ENT, but an endocrinologist can perform the surgery as well. One of the “good things” about thyroid cancer is that it is slow growing. I have absolutely no doubt that your daughter will be healthy again in no time! I remember feeling so alone while going through this, even though I had an incredible support system of loved ones. If you ever need to talk to someone who totally gets it, I’m happy to lend an ear! Just email me at: :)

    • JessicasMom

      This hits home, last year my daughter Jessica (15 at the time) was diagnosed with Thyroid cancer. She has been through a lot and still struggles with everything. We don’t have a teen cancer support group in our area and I want her to be able to talk to other teens with similar situations.

      • MamaBear

        Hi! Have you checked out StupidCancer? Its a teen/young adult cancer support group; there are chapters all over the country. We haven’t been to one; the closest one to us is about 4 hours away, but you might be luckier. ;) My daughter is still struggling with getting her hormones leveled out, which causes a variety of other issues that each come with their own problems. She hasn’t really had anyone to talk to either – not too many kiddos her age can relate. My email address is listed below – feel free to reach out if you or your daughter need someone to chat with! :)

      • Stephanie Lauren

        Hiya, I just wanted to say that I think what you’re doing to help your girl is amazing. She is getting the much needed support from you. I’m 15 and was diagnosed last year. They did surgery on the right side of my neck and then found out it had spread so had to have another surgery on the left… I went in for radioiodine treatment shortly after and I’m going back in for more tomorrow. I have good days and bad days, just like everyone with cancer. But it is tough to have cancer at such a young age. People our age don’t understand and its a struggle each day.. Keep supporting her, you really don’t know how much it means to her. Sending warm love to you and your family and I hope she is on her road to recovery soon! x x

  • Danika Bergeron

    Hi my name is Danika I’m 16 and was diagnosed 5 months ago. they were very hopefully that the cancer had not spread. It had. They took out four lymph nodes three out of the four were cancerous. They wanted to give my body a break before putting me through radiation, but at my last doctors appointment they found two new lumps in my neck. And although my doctor tried to act nonchalant about it my mom and I knew he was concerned, he scheduled an ultrasound and that was done a couple days ago my follow up appointment is in six days. Everything about my case has surprised my doctor.

  • Jacob

    hey Sarah, my name is Jacob and at the age of 8 i was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. i had to undergone surgery to remove it, am currently 15 years old now and i am doing better and hope you are as well

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