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Medical News & Perspectives
May 9, 2017

Farewell to a Cancer That Never Was

JAMA. 2017;317(18):1824-1825. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.3969

Leah Guljord was a 34-year-old newlywed when she learned that she had thyroid cancer. Her neck tumor—visible in her 1994 wedding pictures but unnoticed by anyone at the ceremony—was only discovered weeks later at her first physical in 15 years, courtesy of her new husband’s insurance.

The diagnosis was encapsulated follicular variant of papillary thyroid carcinoma (EFVPTC), for which she received the standard of care at the time: total thyroidectomy, multiple radioactive iodine treatments, daily doses of levothyroxine sodium for the rest of her life, and 2 decades of blood and ultrasound monitoring every 6 months.