Thyroid Cancer Pathology
Why the Roswell Park Doctor You Never Meet May Be the Most Important Person on Your Care Team
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.
Better Biopsy Method for Thyroid Cancer? Hope on the Horizon
William Cance, MD, FACS, 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.
How to Read Your Pathology Report
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.
Second Look, World of Difference
Even if all you need is a second opinion from Roswell Park, we’re here for you!
A second opinion is the best way to reassure you that your initial diagnosis of thyroid cancer is accurate and the recommended treatment strategy is right for you! Over a century, our specialists have successfully worked with community doctors, and are happy to discuss and share information, as needed.
When Should You Seek a Second Opinion?
It’s always a good idea, but especially important if:
- Your physician or pathologist has not provided you with a full, clear explanation of your pathology report, in a language you understand.
- Your physician tells you that you don’t need a second opinion. A good doctor will suggest that you get another opinion if there are questions about your treatment or diagnosis. If your physician is offended, find a new doctor.
- Your physician wants you to have surgery tomorrow. Almost nothing in the world of cancer care requires that kind of immediacy, except patients with acute leukemia; cases in which a tumor is compressing a vital structure, such as the heart or large blood vessels; or certain other rare conditions.
If you’re still not sure whether to ask for a second opinion, ask yourself:
- Am I confident in the diagnosis or treatment options I’ve been given?
- Am I comfortable with my treating physician?
- Has my physician clearly explained all treatment options — not just the ones he or she prefers?
- Are there clinical research studies offering new treatments for my cancer?
- Was my cancer diagnosed at an office or community hospital setting or in a comprehensive cancer center?
- Does my insurance plan require a second opinion? If not, what type of coverage does it provide for second opinions?
To arrange for a second opinion, call 1-800-ROSWELL (1-800-767-9355) or fill out the online Become a Patient Form.