Research & Education
Before treatment begins, it’s important to make sure your disease has been diagnosed accurately to ensure that the treatment options you’re offered are right for that specific disease. It can be especially challenging to tell the difference between malignant (cancerous) or benign (non-cancerous) follicular thyroid tumors, but the treatments are usually very different.
Because our pathologists specialize in cancer, they are highly skilled in identifying rare cancers that other pathologists may never see even once in their careers. The information provided by the Pathology team is critical to designing the treatment plan that’s best for you.
William Cance, MD, Surgeon-in-Chief and Chair of the Department of Surgical Oncology, is leading a team of Roswell Park researchers who are studying focal adhesion kinase (FAK), a protein that helps control normal cell activity. When too much FAK is produced, normal processes spin out of control and some types of cancer can develop as a result.
Is that true for thyroid cancer? Testing thyroid tissue samples, both malignant and benign, Dr. Cance’s team is looking for patterns that might show whether FAK levels can be used to confirm that thyroid tissue is cancerous. If so, the researchers will focus on developing a test that could quickly confirm the diagnosis and provide important information about the best course of treatment.
Cancer treatments are becoming more and more targeted, so an accurate and comprehensive analysis by a pathologist is critical in determining the best approach. Learn how to read your pathology report.