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When do Hurthle cells mean surgery?

sjde
Posts: 10
Joined: Sep 2010

I am scheduled for a complete TT. The FNA found Hurthle cells and I was told they can't know if it's benign or malignant without removing it. I was also told these cells are common in people with Hashimoto's, which I have. So how come some with these cells get a recommendation for surgery and others not?

Sue

dutch_poppy
Posts: 12
Joined: Sep 2002

Hi Sue, I haven't had Hurthle cell carcinoma myself, but I read in the American Thyroid Association guidelines that when the FNA is 'indeterminate' the next step is surgery. So the answer may simply be that there is a growing consensus to operate. If you want to know more then I would simply ask the doctor, and if you're not satisfied with the answer see if you can get another opinion. Something I have learned from my own thyroid cancer journey is just how important it is not to be intimidated and to ask questions!

Thyroid surgery is not trivial. There are potential complications (voice, parathyroid damage) so the more experienced the surgeon the less chance there is of complications. In your shoes I would want to know if the surgeon is specialized in thyroid surgery (i.e. is an endocrine or thyroid surgeon or ear, nose and throat surgeon) and how often they have performed this operation and what is their complication rate. Get yourself a good pair of hands!

The latest guidelines (a bit chewy, but hopefully of some help to you) are at:

http://www.thyroidguidelines.org/sites/thyroidguidelines.net/files/file/ATA_DTC_Guidelines_2009.pdf

Hope this helps
Poppy

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