Family history and papillary thyroid cancer

My dad has had a very aggressive form of thyroid cancer (papillary, columnar variant) that has metastasized and is terminal. I found a nodule (4.5 cm) in April, and the doctors assured me cancer was not hereditary , but it turned out to be well-differentiated papillary thyroid cancer. My doctors still try to convince me this is a "coincidence", but I feel like there has to be a connection.

Are there others that have multiple people in the immediate family with papillary thyroid cancer? What do your doctors say?

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Not thyca, but definitely thyroid disease. I have Hashi's, my sister has Graves, and my two nieces are hypo and don't know whether they have antibodies or not.

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I have a family history of thyroid disease and thyroid cancer. My doctor (thank God) took this seriously into consideration and suggested that I have the thyroid removed & tested instead of radiated, just for peace of mind. And it turned out that there was 2 areas of cancer. The week after my surgery my uncle's (who had thyroid cancer at the same age as I did) 17 year old daughter had hers out as well. I knew the uncle had thyroid surgery but he kept the cancer part quiet. My sister asked him out right and that information added to the other relatives that I did know had it made the family history. I am the only one that I know of that had Graves & hyperthyroid. I think there it is more likely than not that there is a connection. I've just been diagnosed with Crohn's disease and by connecting with a cousin I didn't know well on FB found out that she had it too, and that it runs in families. She has thyroid disease and her mother had thyroid cancer. Seems like it's too much to be a coincidence.

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My grandmother had her Thyroidectomy in the 1940's for a "goiter". My mom was hypothyroid and then I had ThyCa

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I have papillary with a follicular variant, my mother has hypothyroidism, my sister has a goiter. My aunt on my mothers side had papillary carcinoma with a follicular variant as well as my aunt on my fathers side had hypothyroidism and my female cousin has papillary carcinoma with follicular variant...seems more than a coincidence!

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My sister and I both papillary THYCA. Both of our endos mentioned that they think it might be genetic in some way. Personally, I think it was from exposure to waste from a rocket testing facility with known leakage that happened to be located about 5 miles uphill from where we grew up. There is a HUGE cluster of thyroid disease, cancer, and lupus in my old neighborhood. Mostly hashis.

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My mom had thyca (follicular variant of papillary) 40 years ago. My sister had a benign nodule removed and has others under observation. I just had a TT for papillary.

I think there must be some hereditary links that are activated due to environmental factors.

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I have about 150 clients that I groom for. I know at least ten people that have had papillary Tc, including a man his wife and their daughter. That's way over the norm, from what I have been told. I have only known four people in my lifetime that have had colon cancer, and that is supposed to be far more common, so I think there is a lot of stuff they don't tell us. Just my paranoid nature I guess.

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There is a link. Look at familial non medullary thyroid cancer. If three family members are affected, they consider that significant. There is not any dollars for this type of thyroid cancer research. My docs said there is increased risk to family members, and yes, said my kids and relatives should be screened.
I already have 5 sisters with thyroid disease ( hashi) a niece who ended up in ICU with graves, sister with pituitary tumor. All the aunts and grandmas took synthroid. I am carefully watching my kids, and seeking an endo for one of them.
I will try to find the articles to share.
My docs are in the minority, suggesting screening for family members. An ultrasound is cheap.

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Thank you everyone!! That was very helpful!!

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I was diagnosed with PTC in October 2012 at age 60; one niece PTC age 40; one niece PTC age 20; one niece benign hurthle cells age 55; sister and niece with Hashi's. Something's going on with the women in our tree............

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I have two cousins on one side of the family and an uncle on the other side who have all had thyroid cancer, and now me. I had a history of thyroid nodules. Then I turned hyperthyroid. I decided to have the surgery because I knew of the family history. It was a good thing I did as they found the cancer in the final pathology. My endo said it was unusual for mine to have been cancer. He said the family history is what made the difference.

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purplepearls, that is just like me--I turned hyperthyroid with Graves disease. I am so thankful that my doctors went this route. My cousin's doctor isn't so fast to remove hers and her mother had thyroid disease & cancer, now after mine she feels like she has a ticking time bomb. Decades ago my grandmother, then my mother, had to fight to remove their gall bladders because doctors wouldn't do it until they were older. Each pregnancy they got worse. Luckily by the time it was my turn the doctor said it was family history & it should come out even though I was young, and 10 years later my sister did the same. Maybe in the future all doctors will be more accepting of the role family history plays in thyroid disease.

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I agree. Actually my primary, my endo, and my hematologist all recommended the RAI over the surgery to treat the hyperthyroid. I went with my gut and had the endo refer me to the surgeon who agreed I needed the surgery.

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When I found out that I had ThyCa, my mother said that she thought my grandmother and great aunt had something to do with the thyroid. The grandmother is my dad's mother as is the great aunt. The grandmother and great aunt are sisters. Only problem is, everyone is deceased on that side of the family. No one is alive to find out exactly what they had. I wish there was a way that I could find out. I thought about talking to my doctors to see if they could help find out information. But I honestly wouldn't even know where to begin. I have no clue as to who they had for doctors and for all I know those doctors could be dead as well. I know in my grandmothers later years...Im talking like late 70's, she had so many medical issues. I know she had scleroderma, raynaud's, melanoma, and then when she was in her early 80's they found breast cancer. I just pray that I don't get anything other than ThyCa, as that is enough to deal with.

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My son had pappillary thyca, no mets, and five years later, I had pappillary with follicular variant with mets to 4/19 lymph nodes. I worked many years in an NICU holding babies till for xrays.. Oncologist thought this was probable explanation for me... Son had several head CT scans, and bone scan as youngster due to injuries. This may be his explanation. Nonetheless, oncologist says that all my sons needed to be monitored...thus far, no problems...

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All very interesting...though in my case NO relatives with thyroid issues of any kind.

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My sister had papillary thyroid CA at age 18- she did well and I was diagnosed 33 yrs later with the same thing. I had been following a benign nodule (biopsied) on my left side of my thyroid for 7 yrs. It did not bother me, no symptoms. Labs were fine so I let it go until it started gradually getting bigger. A suspicious lymph node was on the RIGHT side. I ended up with MICRO papillary cancer with 3/49 lymph nodes positive. RAI and week later body scan negative. I am through the worst of it for now yet still labeled a stage IVA since I was 49 when dx. My friend is a clinical researcher and she said I was 11% more likely to have thyroid CA because my sister had it. So, there is some degree of relevance there. If I were < 45, I would be stage I. The line in the sand re: age is peculiar but that is what we are stuck with.

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I have a pituitary tumour and recently had TT for papillary cancer. I had an auntie with both the pituitary and thyroid problems and another auntie with just the thyca. It has been suggested that I see a genetic counsellor and that all four of my children are monitored. So I am guessing that the doctors think there must be some kind of genetic link in families. I have had lots of CT scans and MRI's over the last 15 yrs for my pituitary tumour so I dont know whether that has contributed to my thyca.

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