Thyroid cancer is a relatively rare form of cancer, but its incidence has been increasing in recent years. Fortunately, most cases of thyroid cancer are highly treatable, and many patients are able to achieve a full recovery.
However, even after successful treatment, some patients may experience long-term side effects that can impact their quality of life. In this blog, we’ll explore some of the expected long-term side effects of thyroid cancer treatment and offer tips for coping with them.
A common side effect of cancer treatment in general, and thyroid cancer treatment is no exception. After treatment, many patients report feeling persistently tired, even if they are getting enough rest.
To combat fatigue, it’s important to prioritize sleep and rest, engage in moderate exercise, and practice stress-reducing techniques like meditation or yoga.
Thyroid cancer treatment can affect the body’s metabolism, leading to weight changes. As a result, some patients may experience weight gain while others may lose weight. To maintain a healthy weight, it’s crucial to eat a balanced meal that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. Regular exercise can also help to maintain a healthy weight.
Radiation therapy, a standard treatment for thyroid cancer, can cause skin changes such as redness, irritation, and dryness.
To minimize skin irritation, patients should avoid exposure to direct sunlight and apply moisturizing creams or ointments as needed.
It’s also important to use gentle soaps and avoid harsh chemicals or perfumes that can irritate the skin.
In some cases, thyroid cancer treatment can lead to swallowing difficulties, which can be caused by scarring or damage to the esophagus or other nearby structures.
As a result, patients may need to modify their diet, avoiding hard or crunchy foods and opting for softer, easier-to-swallow options. Some patients may also benefit from speech or swallowing therapy.
Thyroid cancer treatment can also affect the voice, particularly if the patient underwent surgery to remove the thyroid gland. This is because the thyroid gland plays a crucial role in regulating the vocal cords.
As a result, patients may experience hoarseness or a weak voice. To cope with these changes, patients may need to work with a speech therapist or vocal coach.
The thyroid gland plays a crucial part in regulating hormones in the body, so the removal of the gland can lead to hormonal imbalances. This can cause a range of symptoms, such as fatigue, mood changes, and weight gain or loss.
As a result, patients may need to take hormone replacement therapy to help regulate their hormone levels.
Cancer treatment can be emotionally challenging, and thyroid cancer treatment is no exception. Patients may experience anxiety, depression, or other emotional difficulties as they navigate life after cancer treatment.
To cope with these challenges, patients can seek support from friends, family members, or mental health professionals.
After battling thyroid cancer, life after treatment can be challenging. However, there are numerous avenues through which patients can cope with long-term side effects, including self-care – a must!
Please make the most of the support of family and friends and open dialogue with one’s healthcare team to manage any symptoms associated with this condition.
Perseverance will eventually lead many patients back to their fulfilling lives once again.