In the era of mass communication, it’s easier than ever to distribute information. Whether that information is true or not isn’t always clear. This is especially important when it comes to your health. When considering the health of your thyroid, it’s important to think critically about the information you’re getting through TV and the internet. For example, a few years ago, a daytime health talk show ran a segment about the increasing number of thyroid cancer diagnoses in women and how the trend may be tied to the use of radiation in mammograms and dental x-rays. The segment caused a debate within the medical community, and its effects can still be felt today.

What Makes A Half-Truth

One of the reasons television shows like these make such a stir is because of the way they deliver their information. It’s often sensationalized in order to create buzz and garner a response from viewers. However, sensational information isn’t always accurate information. In the talk show, clip it suggested that the rising numbers of thyroid cancer diagnoses, which stated, was “the fastest growing cancer in women,” were to blame on the cumulative effect of receiving multiple x-rays for mammograms or dental work in the same year. Is there any truth in this? There is truth in that exposure to radiation can lead to cancer. It’s also true that the effects of radiation are, in fact, cumulative, so it stands to reason that many small exposures could have a pronounced effect at some point. Thyroid cancer diagnoses have also risen in recent years, with some studies suggesting that the number of new cases diagnosed nearly doubling from 2000 to 2008.

What Is Left Out From The Narrative

While the TV segment did accurately address some parts of the issue, it failed to address others. The rise in thyroid cancer diagnoses can be linked to a variety of things. Indeed, a long-term study, conducted between 1973 and 2002 did find a 140 percent increase in new cases. However, the study tied this to the advances in diagnostic technologies, and “increased diagnostic scrutiny.” Essentially, the equipment now used to look for signs of thyroid cancer has improved to the point where even minor stage cancers can be detected, and growths and nodules that would potentially never cause a major health issue can now be visualized quickly.

Sensationalization of thyroid cancer in television shows and numerous internet articles present thyroid cancer as a more grave threat than it actually is. While any cancer diagnoses should be taken seriously, the survival rate for thyroid cancer hasn’t declined, despite the increase of diagnoses. It’s suggested that 98 percent of patients survive after being diagnosed with thyroid cancer.

The numerous therapies, supplements, and other tips that are offered via these widely-viewed sources certainly bear the need for scrutiny, and most importantly, discussion with a board certified medical professional.



The Truth Behind Thyroid Care

If you’re concerned about your thyroid health, the best source of information is from your doctor or a thyroid specialist. If you’ve been diagnosed with thyroid cancer in the Austin area, ask your doctor to be referred to Dr. Kroeker at the Texas Thyroid & Parathyroid Center. With years of experience, Dr. Kroeker is a leader in her field and a skilled and caring surgeon. Contact us today to schedule your appointment.