How common are recurrences?

How common are recurrences? I've read that 35% will have a recurrence. That statistic sounds high. I am 16 years out and have been cancer free since 1997. After my surgery they said I had localized mets (skeletal muscle and 1 lymph node) but all scans have been clear. After all these years I don't give this cancer thing too much thought except when its time for my yearly check up. Which was the other day. My doctor said she felt a node but that can be due too many other factors (cold, etc..) but come back in 2-3 months for a recheck. I'm also past due for my WBS.. So now I'm going to set that up. That afternoon I went to my primary to have him feel my neck (I can't feel a thing) to get his opinion. He said he didn't feel anything so not to worry. Of course I still am... Anyway, this leads to my initial question ... How common are recurrences?

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The statistics are high, just as you've stated. I am 10 years out and it was discovered I was in recurrence this past March. They crazy thing was ALLL of may scans were negative. I had an increasing elevation of Tg for the past few years. We treated it with RAI one year but at the time they had no idea as to what they were targeting. I've done PET/CT, MRI, WBS...all showed up negative. My Endo referred me to MD Anderson in Houston where they found an infected node in my left thyroid bed. I had no idea that the likelihood of recurrence was this high, even decades after initial diagnosis, until my current situation. I hope this is not true in your case but be sure to stay up to date on everything..and if things start to get weird, please get a 2nd opinion, because my docs have failed me way too many times.

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Thanks for your replt? How did they treat your recurrence?

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Actually they didn't. Im in a wait and watch period. It is fairly small and not disturbing anything. They say its "behaving". They dont want me to have surgery more than I need too so they will wait to take it out when it is necessary. I go back to MDA next month so I should know more then. But the next steps should still be surgery and RAI...its just a matter of when.

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I believe the statistic you quoted is about right. I'm 17 years out. I had a recurrence at 16.5 years. I had one positive lymph node at surgery. I had another recurrence as I prepped for my RAI at the outset - high TSH - grew another tumor. Had a surgery for that. This most recent one was found with ultrasound and Tg testing - the gold standard - better than WBS. Everything is chronicled on my blog. I was treated with Ethanol Ablation.
Go back to last September and start reading if interested. http://dj-thyroidcancer.blogspot.com
Reach out any time.
dj

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Have you had your Thyroglobulin tested? I would really want to know what that says. How often do you have whole body scans??

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I'm waiting for tg level.

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This could have been my post except mine is in the right bed, also transferred to MD because my Dr up here wanted to be radical in treatment. I am watch & wait at MD too. LOVE it there. I would think even higher than 35% but maybe because I am in the 35% it feels like it should be more.

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Not to butt in where I have no personal experience But have doctors mentioned ultrasound guided alcohol injection of your recurrence?
This something that can be done without actual surgery or radiation or traditional chemotherapy.
Something you might want to check out elsewhere on this site.
Good Luck.

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I don't know if I have a recurrence just curious about recurrences

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Someone just posted an abstract of an article published in Great Britain I believe. The article discussed recurrence rates of 30% but broke down the percent of recurrences that occured after 5 years and after 10 years. Those numbers were impressive. Personally, I think a lot of the "recurrences" we see within the first year aren't really recurrences but are actually a progression of the initial cancer that was never fully treated or didn't fully manifest itself at the time of treatment.

I will look back through recent posts for the reference to that article. Anyone recall that post?

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Recurrence rates vary depending on tumor size and extent of initial surgery. "Ten-year recurrence rates increased with increasing tumor size: <1.0 cm 4.6%, 1.0 to 1.9 cm 7.1%, 2.0 to 2.9 cm 8.6%, 3.0 to 3.9 cm 11.6%, 4.0 to 8.0 cm 17.2%, and >8.0 cm 24.8%" http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1959355/

This is data from a ThyCa presentation

Papillary :
5% at 5 years
10% at 10 years
15% at 25 years

Follicular
18% at 10 years
21% at 20 years

Medullary
50% at 10 years

References
1. Bilimoria et al. Ann Surg 2007; 246: 375–384 – 10 year survival >98%
2. Hay et al. World J. Surg. 2002; 26, 879–885,– 25 year survival 95%
3. Mazzaferri and Jhiang. Am. J. Med. 1994; 97, 418-428
4. Dottorini et al. Cancer 1996; 77:1556-65.

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Found it: http://erc.endocrinology-journals.org/content/20/4/R141.full.pdf

In 1994, Mazzaferri & Jhiang analyzed 1077 PTC patients treated during the last fourdecades of the 20th century and found a recurrence rate of
more than 20%. After >5 years of follow-up, 40% of the
recurrences were identified, and around 20% were
detected after the tenth year. In 2013, Durante et al.
(2013) conducted a similar analysis of 1020 patients
treated between 1990 and 2008. The recurrence rate was
markedly lower (1.4%); over 75% of the recurrences were
discovered within 5 years of the initial treatment, and
none were detected after the eighth year of the follow-up.

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Thanks for the reply . Everyone here has been very helpful.

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Hi:
My re-occurence was 20 years later. However, my original diagnosis was microscopic papillary cancer and they only took out one lobe. It was tiny tiny tiny. I was told that most dr's would have left it in. I basically just took thyroid meds and had no follow ups other than my family dr. I had never had an ultrasound, thyroid scan, etc.... The general consensus is that my reoccurance was actually there all along, they just didn't check for it.
So, needless to say, I think follow ups are a must! I will be diligent about following up from now on.

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