March 22, 2023

Thyroid cancer – what you need to know

From South Florida Caribbean News

Austin, TX – Thyroid cancer is the nation’s fastest rising cancer according to the American Cancer Society. While there are very few symptoms with thyroid cancer, it also happens to be the most survivable form of cancer.

Dr. Teresa Kroeker, an expert in thyroid cancer removal surgery and founder of The Texas Thyroid and Parathyroid Center in Austin Texas, says that with awareness comes effective treatment.

“Thyroid cancer is considered to have a slow growth rate and can be detected via non-invasive methods. The most common way to tell is to have your physician check your neck and throat for a mass. It’s easily detectable since the thyroid gland resides fairly close to the front of the neck.”

Signs of Thyroid Cancer

Dr. Kroeker says that some signs a person needs to be checked by their medical healthcare professional can be experiencing a lump in the throat just above where the collar-bones come together. “The most common complaint is difficulty swallowing. A person can also experience a change in their voice or the feeling that their airway is being cut-off.”

Thyroid cancer typically affects people in their 30’s-60’s and the condition is more common in men. Post-thyroid surgery, patients have a 98% survivability rate. Dr. Kroeker says that in some cases a person might need to take a one-time treatment of radioactive iodine. “What we’ve seen is that people who are of Filipino descent are at a higher risk of developing thyroid cancer.”

For Maria Fleschman, the decision to see an expert in thyroid cancer removal made all the difference. “My general practitioner wanted to send me to a regular surgeon when I was originally diagnosed with papillary carcinoma, but after some research, it became clear that thyroid removal surgery was more involved than just removing my entire thyroid.” Dr. Kroeker found that Maria’s cancer was more advanced and had begun to grow around the laryngeal nerves of her vocal chords. “If I hadn’t gone to an expert in thyroid surgery, there would be a very high chance I wouldn’t be able to speak today” she says. “Dr. Kroeker knew exactly how to remove the cancer from around those crucial nerves so I wouldn’t lose my ability to speak.”

Thyroid surgery typically takes anywhere from an hour and a half to two hours and is performed in an outpatient setting. Patients aren’t required to see an oncologist and the recovery is less painful than having tonsils taken out. “I was rappelling off the Omni Hotel in downtown Austin from 25 floors up just two weeks after my surgery” explains Maria.

Dr. Kroeker says that it isn’t always necessary to remove the entire thyroid gland, but that the surgery requires the patient be on thyroid hormone permanently post-surgery.

“The best thing about seeing Dr. Kroeker was that she had the ability to do everything in her office and she gave me an immense sense of confidence in regard to my care.”

Thyroid Cancer - What You Need To Know with Teresa R. Kroeker MD

Teresa R. Kroeker MD

Teresa R. Kroeker MD is the Medical Director and founder of The Texas Thyroid & Parathyroid Center in Austin Texas. She graduated from the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine, completing a head and neck surgery fellowship at Mt. Sinai Hospital in conjunction with the University of Toronto.

Her fellowship was heavily focused in endocrine head and neck surgery, including intrathyroidal, metastatic, and invasive thyroid cancer as well as hyperparathyroidism.

Dr. Kroeker has extensive experience in central and lateral neck dissections as well as reoperative surgery for recurrent thyroid cancer and hyperparathyroidism. She does her own in-office ultrasounds and has performed hundreds of ultrasound-guided fine needle aspirations of thyroid nodules and neck masses.

IMAGE: Teresa R. Kroeker MD

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