09 - 18 - 2012 Burnham cancer survivor urges awareness
LEWISTOWN â During the past 10 years Kathy McCartney, of Burnham, has been a thyroid cancer survivor she has undergone four surgeries, a number of radioactive iodine treatments and a personal journey that has led her to a "new normal.â Though McCartney will spend the rest of her life suppressing the cancer growing inside, she is dedicated to living life on her own terms and educating others on thyroid cancer awareness. According to the National Cancer Institute, thyroid cancer forms in the thyroid gland, an organ at the base of the throat that makes hormones to control heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature and weight. Thyroid cancer is one of the only cancer types currently experiencing an increase in prevalence. Usually, there are no symptoms during the early stages of thyroid cancer, but it's important for patients to be aware of signs in case clinical analysis is needed. Patients may be able to feel a lump or swelling in the neck and experience voice changes or difficulty breathing and swallowing. According to the Thyroid Community website, 35 percent of thyroid cancer patients experience a recurrence within 40 years after the initial treatment and two-thirds of those recurrences happen within 10 years after hormone therapy.