October 19, 2008

My Joy from Other’s Misfortune

The incidences of new thyroid cancer cases are increasing faster than any other type of malignancy. Crack out the Schlitz it’s party time. If you have been recently diagnosed, I am benefiting hugely off of your misfortune. Here’s why.

Nestled in my neck, next to my jugular vein and other structures I’m quite fond of, are two tumors. I have thyroid cancer. Eight years and counting. What is supposed to be the easiest and most curable kind of cancer has not been so for me. I’m the outlier. The black sheep of the thyroid cancer family. This disease usually has a very high cure rate. After surgery and a round of radiation most patients quickly return to a cancer-free life. But, my tumor cells do not react to the radiation that is supposed to make thyroid cancer a so curable.

What are my options? Not many. Why? Because I am part of a small percentage of thyroid cancer patients and it is simply not profitable for pharma to invest in us few black sheep. That is until now… With the pool of thyroid cancer patients rapidly increasing, the pool of black sheep is rapidly expanding as well. Even though we are still the outliers, we are suddenly profitable because there are enough of us who are the exception to the rule.

Before, there was zero interest in finding new cures for those of us who do not respond to radiation. Now AstraZeneca and Amgen are eagerly pulling their chairs up to our table with new drug development and clinical trials. Can I blame them for not showing interest sooner, when our numbers were few? They are not in business to be altruist healers. They are in business to make money. As long as our healthcare system is driven by profits, they will flock to where the most money is, and unfortunately my greatest hope will continue to lie in other’s misfortune.

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  1. Miss Amos Says:
    November 1st, 2008 at 3:17 PM

    I am also a thyroid cancer survivor but I am one of the lucky ones who surgery and RAI worked for. I get very, very angry when people tell me that I am so lucky to have had the easy cancer. Cancer is cancer and it sucks. I can promise you that going hypo for 8 weeks with a TSH over 200 is pretty darn comparable to chemo and I can also promise you that my story and experience is no less valid just because I had thyroid cancer and not breast or something else. I am very glad that big pharma is finally starting to take notice even if they are just out for the financial gain. At least someone is studying this disease for those are not as fortunate as I am. I will have you in my thoughts because I completely understand exactly how much the easy cancer sucks.

  2. Anna Says:
    January 8th, 2009 at 8:49 PM

    I was diagnosed this past October.

    You’re welcome. :)

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