why is being older higher risk?

I posed this on the other site too. When I was diagnosed with thyca is was 64 and the endo told me I was higher risk because of my age. Why? Does anyone know? I only agreed to RAI because of this and now wish I had investigated more. All the side effects of RAI make me wonder if I would have been better off chancing it.

Report post

32 replies. Join the discussion

I was 46 when diagnosed with thyca but had thyroid issues (hyper) most of my life so when Dr said I was high risk of recurrence I thought that was the reason and also because there is a family history of thyca. I never asked the Dr if those were the reasons, I just assumed. I will ask her at my next visit. Thanks for posting that question clutzyme.

Hugs :-)

Lulu

Report post

Well not meaning to bring humor into the situation but kind of like there is a risk in that the older we get the more intelligent our questions are, and the more this field of medicine learns basically they don't have answers. I mean if we could all be 10 we would be low risk because we don't ask questions we just accept it. When we get older we are high risk because we ask questions that can't be answered. Sorry... had to say it.

I don't know any real answer, other than as we get older they do know the telomeres on the DNA shorten or break down. They do know this is one age related cancer issue but no idea how well it connects to thyroid versus other cancers for example. All cells with DNA have telomeres on the DNA and they can only duplicate themselves so many times apparently.

Report post

That is a really good question. ( biomedee, thx for making me laugh )
If i had been a few years younger I would have been at a lower stage. I am otherwise healthy and exercised for the past 25 years, dont smoke, and not on any medication. (Except now, synthroid and cytomel) Why don't they take that into consideration?

Report post

I'm 55 and have thought about this a while---don't know. I used to think that, as papillary thyca grows slowly, the older you grow the more advanced it would generally be. However, I don't think that changes the prognosis... So...

Looka at Thomas Jefferson's Cancer Research Center blog (which summarizes some research that was presented at this fall's ATA Conference)

http://blogs.jeffersonhospital.org/atjeff/2012/10/11/a-new-way-to-look-at-t hyroid-cancer/

then a Program & Abstract described in Thyroid: L.A. Bischoff, titled Staging of Papillary Thyroid Cencer: Why Age 45

http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/pdfplus/10.1089/thy.2012.2209.abs

Doesn't have the answer, but addresses the question!

Report post

I think it is because our immune systems do not respond as well as when we were young. The older we get the slower and less effective our bodies natural immune system responds. Try to eat as many truly healthy foods (green stuff/veggies, fruits) as possible to protect yourself and boost immunity.

Report post

Not sure if we have the right answers or not..

What I thought earlier about telomere may well be a cause of cancer, but we are assigned risk after TT for recurrence. So perhaps telomere may not be related to recurrence risks but original risk for getting cancer only. Not sure...

Immunity, hmmm well the trick cancer cells play is they look like our cells with our DNA. Our immune system may not attack a cell it thinks is us. In fact thyroid cancer cells are so close to thyroid cells that they take in iodine and put out Tg even if they are not in the thyroid. So does immunity have a role? It spreads through the lymphatic system I suppose and that relates to immunity I guess but does the immune system attack thyroid cancer cells or recognize them as an enemy or less so as we age? I will have to think about that...

Report post

Hi Cheryl, I think your point about aging immune systems is likely correct. I saw your post on this and it caught my interest as I am 69 and have just been diagnosed with follicular cancer this last week after a FNA.

It is a shock to me still, as I have been healthy and fit all my life, but I do remember my mother having thyroid surgery many years ago. I was only diagnosed with Hashimotos in December after routine blood tests showed high TSH and a subsequent US found two nodules. No physical symptoms whatsoever. So I am starting down the path that so many of you have gone down and certainly would appreciate any guidance.

Report post

Scapa, I'm with you on the shock of finding out you have cancer. I have been extremely active and fit most of my life. I have always exercised tons (I ran until my knees gave out and then I graduated to a mountain bike and horses). I always try to eat lots of good stuff and minimize the bad. Sometimes there just isn't any reason we can pinpoint as causing our diseases, we just have to deal with it. Since my surgery I have been so tired and unenergetic I just don't feel like myself. Hopefully you will do well and not be as exhausted as some of us on this site.

Report post

Biomed - thanks for the chuckle. I do agree that being older probably makes us a lot more savvy about doctors not knowing it all. I have had the year blood test but now I guess I wait 6 mos for another. I guess time will tell but sure hope all the gifts RAI gives will be worth it. I'm still dealing with the misery of the tear duct surgery. Get the tube out in two weeks and sure hope it stays open, sick of the tears and gumk that comes out.

Report post

This article offers information.

http://theoncologist.alphamedpress.org/content/14/3/216.full

Report post

BiomedEE, that's for your humor, and for sharing your knowledge. I hope you never leave us.

Hugs

Lulu

Report post

Biomedee,

I too had a chuckle from your post. Thanks for making my day!

Report post

dj152 Thank you for the link. I appreciated reading the article since I am now 66! I was told I didn't need RAI because of the tumor's size and my endo just said the risk is just slightly higher because of my age. Dang it!

Report post

These are great references! Many thanks. I do not know if studies of age and thyroid cancer have had enough data to take account of fitness but beng a proponent of exercise and a good diet I will add in (as I have before) that it cannot hurt to be fit. At least it makes treatments easier. And life better. All best wishes, Myrna

Report post

dj152---thanks for the link.

Report post

I wanted to know why age was a factor in staging thyrca as well and could never really get a straight answer or find much of an explanation. After reading this article I guess a lot of factors come into play as we age.

Report post

Well everyone, I had my appointment with my endo and she has pointed out to me that the biopsy results are typical of nodule results for patients with Hashis and Thyroiditis. She feels my GP over reacted and she called him and told him so. What we need to do for the moment is to monitor the nodule(s) with an ultrasound every six months or so. . There is no cancer indicated although my GP didn't read it that way.
I am very happy with this news and have gone to Mexico for a holiday. My synthroid of 75mcg has brought my TSH down and all results are now in range.
Thank you for all your support.
Adios for now

Report post

Thanks, BiomedEE, for your great sense of humor - mind if I spread your comment from Apr 2? It will make for many smiles! You've also given me some "food for thought". I just can't express to everyone how very much I appreciate you all for info, support, humor, etc. It really helps to know we are not alone in this fight & we can move forward w/HOPE!

Report post

Well further to my last comment on this post, I have returned from my holiday in Mexico and have inquired further into my biopsy results. Unfortunately I then contracted Shingles a week later which seriously laid me up for almost four weeks. Anyone in this age group who has had chicken pox as a child, I cannot stress enough the need to get the Shingles vaccine. Shingles is a horrible time. Presumably it came as my immune system is harmed?? (Hashis)

Now back to my biopsy report, the summary says " The specimen contains variably sized cohesive groups of thyroid follicular epithelial cells in a background containing prominent numbers of small lymphocytes, some histiocytes, including multinucleated histiocytes, and some blood elements. Many of the follicular epithelial cell groups demonstrate irregular nuclei with nuclear crowding and overlapping nuclei. Nuclear features diagnostic for papilliary carcinoma are not identified. The cytologic features are consistent with a follicular neoplasm. The prominent lymphoid cells in the background raise the possibility of underlying lymphocytic thyroiditis"

My GP immediately became concerned with this report, but a few days later after meeting wih my Endo who said - Lets monitor the nodule and do another ultrasound in 5 months. Dont be too worried.

I am left with an uncomfortable feeling and would appreciate any feedback to this report.

Report post

Hi Scapa, Thanks for the reminder about shingles. I hear it is really a nasty thing to have.

Regarding follicular neoplasm. My FNA stated "suspicious for follicular neoplasm" and I am seeing the surgeon tomorrow about surgery for removing the left half. After pathology reports from the hemithyroidectomy it will be determined what to do next. The endocrinologist, my family doctor and the surgeon all have said I would have to have surgery to determine the significance of the suspicious follicular neoplasm.

I am glad they will follow up with yours but from what I read it is likely to be the same and the only way to tell what it is when it is follicular is through surgery.

I am not an expert on this...just my experience. I am 66 btw.

Report post

This discussion is closed to replies. We close all discussions after 90 days.

If there's something you'd like to discuss, click below to start a new discussion.

Things you can do

Support ThyCa

Help ThyCa: Thyroid Cancer Survivors' Association reach its goals and support people like yourself by making a donation today.

Donate to  ThyCa: Thyroid Cancer Survivors' Association

Discussion topics

Help and information from ThyCa

Community leaders