Doctor Thyroid

Welcome to Doctor Thyroid with your host, Philip James. This is a meeting place for you to hear from top thyroid doctors and healthcare professionals. Information here is intended to help those wanting to 'thrive' regardless of setbacks related to thyroid cancer. Seeking good health information can be a challenge, hopefully this resource provides you with better treatment alternatives as related to endocrinology, surgery, hypothyroidism, thyroid cancer, functional medicine, pathology, and radiation treatment. Not seeing an episode that addresses your particular concern? Please send me an email with your interest, and I will request an interview with a leading expert to help address your questions. Philip James
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Now displaying: May, 2017
May 29, 2017

The USPSTF upholds its 1996 recommendation against screening for thyroid cancer among asymptomatic adults.

The USPSTF commissioned the systematic review due to the rising incidence of thyroid cancers against a background of stable mortality, which is suggestive of over-treatment. And in view of the results, the task force concluded with “moderate certainty” that the harms outweigh the benefits of screening.

The USPSTF emphasizes, however, that this recommendation pertains only to the general asymptomatic adult population, and not to individuals who present with throat symptoms, lumps or swelling, or those at high risk for thyroid cancer.

A global problem

The over-diagnosis of thyroid cancer is worldwide.  

South Korean doctors treated these newly diagnosed thyroid cancers by completely removing the thyroid—a thyroidectomy. People who undergo these surgeries require thyroid replacement hormones for the rest of their lives. And adjusting the dose can be difficult. Patients suffer from too much thyroid replacement hormone (sweating, heart palpitations, and weight loss) or too little (sleepiness, depression, constipation, and weight gain). Worse, because of nerves that travel close to the thyroid, some patients suffer vocal-cord paralysis, which affects speech.

Over-diagnosis and over-treatment of thyroid cancer hasn’t been limited to South Korea. In France, Italy, Croatia, Israel, China, Australia, Canada, and the Czech Republic, the rates of thyroid cancer have more than doubled. In the United States, they’ve tripled. In all of these countries, as had been the case in South Korea, the incidence of death from thyroid cancer has remained the same.

1 in 3 people die with thyroid cancer, not of.


As heard on NPR

Dr. Seth Landefeld

American Thyroid Association


35: Rethinking Thyroid Cancer – When Saying No to Surgery Maybe Best for You with Dr. Allen Ho from Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles

22: Avoiding Thyroid Cancer Surgery, Depending on the Size with Dr. Miyauchi from Kuma Hospital in Kobe, Japan

21: Diagnosed with Thyroid Cancer and You Say No to Surgery with Dr. Louise Davies

May 20, 2017

Weighing treatment options for thyroid cancer, with deep consideration for the patient’s lifestyle, could become the new norm in assessing whether surgery is the best path. 

Dr. Allen Ho states, “if a patient is a ballerina or an opera singer, or any other profession that could be jeopardized due to undesired consequences of thyroid cancer surgery, then the best treatment path maybe active surveillance.”  Undesired consequences of thyroid cancer surgery could be vocal cord paralysis, damage to the parathyroid glands resulting in calcium deficiencies, excessive bleeding or formation of a major blood clot in the neck, shoulder nerve damage, numbness, wound infection, and mental impairment due to hypothyroid-like symptoms.  Or in the case of a ballerina, undesired scarring could jeopardize a career.   

The above risks occur in approximately 10% of thyroid cancer surgeries.  Although, some thyroid cancer treatment centers have a much more reduced incidence of undesired consequences, while others much higher. 

In order to address the above and remove the risk of thyroid cancer surgery, Cedars-Sinai has become the first west coast hospital to launch an active surveillance study as optional treatment for thyroid cancer.  The study includes 200 patients from across the country who have chosen the wait and see approach rather than hurry into a surgery that could result in undesired, major life changes.   By waiting, this means these patients will dodge the need to take daily hormone replacement medication for the rest of their lives as the result of a thyroidectomy. 

Other active surveillance research

Although this is the first study for active surveillance on the west coast, other studies are ongoing, including Sloan Kettering as directed by Dr. Tuttle, Kuma Hospital in Kobe as directed by Dr. Miyauchi, and the Dartmouth Institute as directed by Dr. Louise Davies.

The team

Dr. Ho says the “de-escalating” of treatment for thyroid cancer will become the new trend.  The active surveillance thyroid cancer team at Cedars-Sinai is orchestrated to the patient’s needs, and includes the pathologist, endocrinologist, and surgeon.


About Dr. Allen Ho

Allen Ho, MD, is a fellowship-trained head and neck surgeon who focuses on head and neck tumors, including HPV(+) throat cancers and thyroid malignancies. As director of the Head and Neck Cancer Program and co-director of the Thyroid Cancer Program, he leads the multidisciplinary Cedars-Sinai Head and Neck Tumor Board, which provides consensus management options for complex, advanced cases. Ho's research interests are highly integrated into his clinical practice. His current efforts lie in cancer proteomics, HPV(+) oropharyngeal cancer pathogenesis, and thyroid cancer molecular assays. He has presented his research at AACR, ASCO, AHNS, and ATA, and has published extensively as lead author in journals that include Nature Genetics, Journal of Clinical Oncology, Cancer, and Thyroid. Ho serves on national committees within the ATA and AHNS, and is principal investigator of a national trial on micropapillary thyroid cancer active surveillance ( ID: NCT02609685). He maintains expertise in transoral robotic surgery (TORS), minimally invasive thyroidectomy approaches, and nerve preservation techniques. Ho’s overarching mission is to partner with patients to optimize treatment and provide compassionate, exceptional care.


American Thyroid Association

Cedars-Sinai clinical trial

MSKCC thyroid cancer active surveillance

THYCA Support Group


Active Surveillance of Thyroid Cancer Under Study


May 12, 2017

What Happens When Thyroid Cancer Travels to the Lungs?

Fabian Pitoia, M.D., serves as the Head of the Thyroid Section of the Division of Endocrinology and Investigation Area Coordinator at the Hospital de Clinicas of the University of Buenos Aires (UBA). He works also as an Proffessor of internal medicine at the Faculty of Medicine (UBA).

Dr Pitoia serves as a Full Member of the Argentine Society of Endocrinology and Metabolism, of the Latin American Thyroid Society, the Endocrine Society and he is a Correspondent Member of the American Thyroid Association.

In this episode Dr. Pitoia addresses the following topics:

  • 10% of thyroid cancer patients will have distant metastatic disease
  • The disease will travel to lungs, bones, or both
  • Treatment with RAI is most effective for those under 40 years old
  • Evaluation of metastatic thyroid cancer in the lungs is a CT scan
  • In 2006, there was a change in the treatment of the disease
  • Adverse events of medication
  • The coordination between the endocrinologist and the oncologist 



Dr. Pitoia - Facebook

Dr. Pitoia - web site

Dr. Pitoia - Twitter

Thyroid Cancer Alliance

American Thyroid Association

Hospital de Clínicas de la Universidad de Buenos Aires - Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires.  Consultorio privado: Pte. J.E. Uriburu 754 - Piso 2. Teléfonos: 49545488/49525496


May 12, 2017

Bienvenido al episodio 33 de Doctor Thyroid con Philip James.   

El invitado de hoy es Dr. Fabian Pitoia.  El Dr. Pitoia es un experto endocrino mundial, que aparece en muchas publicaciones y conferencias mundiales, donde habla de cáncer de tiroides. El Dr Pitoia es médico endocrinólogo, está encargado de la Sección Tiroides de la División Endocrinología del Hospital de Clínicas de la Universidad de Buenos Aires.

En este episodio, el Dr. Pitoia responde las siguientes preguntas:

  • ¿Qué es la enfermedad metastásica en relación con el cáncer de tiroides?  
  • Hay una tendencia de este enfermedad?
  • ¿cómo se descubre la enfermedad metastásica?
  • cuando se trata de cáncer de tiroides es un procedimiento típico para los médicos para detectar la enfermedad metastásica?
  • si un paciente no responde a RAI (radioactiva), ¿qué es una opción de tratamiento? ¿Podemos hacer vigilancia activa
  • cuando hay metástasis en los pulmones, ¿es lo mismo que el cáncer de pulmón?
  • 600 milicurios de RAI .... ¿Hay peligro para este alto de una dosis?
  • ¿hay efectos secundarios o peligros a los medicamentos usados ​​para tratar la enfermedad metastásica que no responde a la radiación?
  • se le informa a un paciente de la enfermedad metastásica, y este es un área de estrés para los pacientes con cáncer de tiroides, ¿puede decirle a un paciente algo para reducir la ansiedad relacionada con la enfermedad metastásica?
  • si un paciente tiene enfermedad metastásica, ¿es necesario un médico especial para el tratamiento?
  • ¿cómo sabemos si un médico se especializa en la enfermedad metastásica?
  • ¿hay una página web o recursos adicionales para aprender más sobre la enfermedad metastásica?


Dr. Pitoia - Facebook

Dr. Pitoia - pagina web

Dr. Pitoia - Twitter


Thyroid Cancer Alliance

American Thyroid Association - Español

Hospital de Clínicas de la Universidad de Buenos Aires - Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires.  Consultorio privado: Pte. J.E. Uriburu 754 - Piso 2. Teléfonos: 49545488/49525496

May 8, 2017

This is a candid interview with Dr. Gary Clayman about thyroid cancer surgery and making sure a patient receives the best available care. 

Dr. Clayman has performed more than four hundred thyroid cancer operations per year for over twenty years among patients ranging from 6 months to 100+ years of age. Nearly half of Dr. Clayman’s patients have undergone failed initial surgery for their thyroid cancer by another surgeon or have recurrent, persistent, or aggressive thyroid cancer. If it pertains to thyroid surgery or thyroid cancer, there is likely nothing that he hasn’t seen.

Dr. Clayman left the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in the fall of 2016 to form the Clayman Thyroid Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida

If someone is considering surgery, Dr. Clayman discusses important topics, including:

  • Do not let a doctor operate on you unless the surgeon can prove to you that he/she has done a minimum of 150 annual thyroid surgeries, and for a minimum of ten years.  This means, do not see a surgeon unless he/she has completed a minimum of 1500 thyroid surgeries. 
  • Damage to voice box nerves is preventable, when surgery is done right.
  • 90% of thyroid surgeries done in the U.S. are by doctors doing fewer than fifteen thyroid surgeries per year
  • There is a growing trend of patients being more informed compared to years past
  • Do not rush into a surgery.  Vet your doctor and hospital.  Talk to people and make sure you have selected a skilled surgeon 
  • Surgery is not franchisable, use caution when
  • If a case is too complex, important that a less experienced surgeon seek help from a more experienced surgeon
  • Incomplete surgery is completely unacceptable (persistence of disease)
  • Advice to surgeons, especially less-experienced ones

Other Doctor Thyroid episodes referenced during this interview:

The Financial Burden of Thyroid Cancer with Dr. Jonas de Souza from The University of Chicago Medicine

The Parathyroid, and a Safer — Less-Scarring Thyroid Surgery with Dr. Babak Larian from Cedars-Sinai

A Must Listen Episode Before Getting Surgery – Do Not Do It Alone, with Douglas Van Nostrand from MedStar Washington Hospital


Dr. Gary Clayman

Thyroid Cancer Overview

Book: Atlas of Head and Neck Surgery


Health Grades

Zoc Doc

The American Thyroid Association

May 4, 2017

El término nódulo tiroideo se refiere a cualquier crecimiento anormal de las células tiroideas formando un tumor dentro de la tiroides. Aunque la gran mayoría de los nódulos tiroideos son benignos (no cancerosos), una pequeña proporción de estos nódulos sí contienen cáncer de tiroides. Es por esta posibilidad que la evaluación de un nódulo tiroideo está dirigida a descubrir un potencial cáncer de tiroides.

En esta entrevista, el Dr. Castro explica los siguientes temas:

  • ¿Qué es un nódulo tiroideo?
  • ¿Cuáles son los síntomas de un nódulo tiroideo?
  • ¿Cómo se diagnostica el nódulo tiroideo?
  • Punción de la tiroides con aguja fina
  • Ecografía de la tiroides
  • ¿Cómo se tratan los nódulos de la tiroides?
  • Cuando la observación activa es la opción de tratamiento en lugar de una tiroidectomía
  • Niños con nódulos tiroideos

M. Regina Castro, MD es consultante en la División de Endocrinología de la Clínica Mayo de Rochester, MN. Es Profesora Asociada de Medicina. Es Directora Asociada del Programa de entrenamiento en la especialidad de Endocrinología, y Directora de la rotación de Endocrinología para la Residencia de Medicina Interna. También es miembro del Grupo de Tiroides de la Clínica Mayo. Ella sirvió de 2009 a 2015 como Editor de Sección de la Tiroides para el Programa de Autoevaluación de AACE y ha sido autora de varios capítulos sobre Hipertiroidismo, Nódulos de Tiroides y cáncer


Nódulos Tiroideos

Regina Castro Publications

American Thyroid Association en Español