Saturday, November 17, 2007

Researching Hurthle Cell Cancer

Just a decade ago, if a doctor told you that you had a particular illness, the only place to look would be a library. Today, in just a few minutes, I can retrieve far more information on any topic, than all libraries in the world combined.

I had never heard of Hurthle Cell Carcinoma before, but there are hundreds or maybe thousands of conditions or illnesses that I have never heard of. I sat down on my sofa at home with my notebook computer and started browsing.

Hurthle Cell carcinoma is a type of cancer that effects the follicular cells. It is a more aggressive cancer--more often metastasizing to distant locations of the body.
The main points about Hurthle cell carcinoma:

1. Spreads mainly through the blood vessels instead of lymph nodes.
2. Often found growing in the bones, lungs and nervous system (the spinal cord and brain)
3. Does not respond well to radioactive iodine treatment.
4. Rare--only 1-3% of all thyroid cancers
5. Most medical facilities don't have enough exposure to become an "expert"
6. Often recurs.
7. Someone responsive to external radiation beam treatment.
8. Not very responsive to chemotherapy.