Thyroid Cancer three years after radiotherapy for breast cancer

I have just been diagnosed with a 4 cm , rare form of Thyroid cancer , Hurthle Cell carcinoma. It is just three years since I had radiotherapy for my breast cancer . Although I have been assured that it is not a breast cancer metastisis , could the radiotherapy treatment and this new cancer be linked ? Or have I just struck lucky by having two totally unrelated cancers in 4 years ? Are there any other Thyroid and breast cancer sufferers out there ?
Jill x

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From what I know of thyroid cancer I think you have been unlucky. The reason I say that is a few years ago my brother in law was treated for thyroid cancer and at the time he was told that unlike other cancers it doesn’t spread, so once they have treated it (he had surgery followed by radiotherapy tablets) he was told he was cured. He had check-ups for 2 years and after that nothing else. He takes thyroxine now as a result of having his tyroid gland removed. That was the hardest part, getting the dosage of Thyroxine correct.

One of my colleagues had thyroid cancer 10 years ago. She has never had breast cancer and she is now in very good health. She also needs thyroxin (free prescriptions!) and struggled at first, until they got the dosage correct. She is a very active Reception class Teacher! She has been very supportive to me, since my BC dx and has reassured me that the cancer demons do eventually back off into the far distance and won’t forever me on my shoulder!

I think you have been very unlucky, but I suspect this cancer can be ‘cured’!

Apparently having had breast cancer is actually one of the risks listed in thyroid cancer causes , so I am really beginning to wonder just what the links are , and whether any group has done research into this .

‘Cancer’ is just a name given to many different conditions caused by abnormal, rapid cell division. So, in effect, it’s not an acquired disease but our own bodies malfunctioning. Just as it is more likely to happen as a person gets older, surely having had ANY cancer is an indication that a person is suscebtible to cancerous cell production, and therefore a previous cancer will be on a list of cancer ‘causes’? Just a thought. Might be rubbish.

Hi Jill. am realy sorry to hear of your recent Dx of Thyriod cancer, like others have said you have been very unlucky to have been Dx with 2 different types of cancer so realy big hugs to you. The current thinking is that there isnt a connection between BC and any Thyriod problems includeing thyriod cancer BUT there are many ladies on the forum who (including myself) have been Dx with thyriod problems (not cancer) since BC ie under/over active/multi nodular ect. Ive been seeing a thyriod surgeon for over a yr who is monitoring my multinodular thriod that i didnt have pre BC (on hold at the minute as dealing with a new primary BC)as it keeps growing larger and is now starting to affect my voice making me quite croaky, my last ultrasound showed the biggest nodule is now 3.5 cms ,ive been assured that it isnt thyriod cancer though have never had a FNA on the nodules but the ultrasound radiographer told me also that thyriod cancer is rare and that they only see about 4 cases a yr. Ive also been told that thyriod problems are very common as ive too often wondered and asked if there is any connection to BC , current thinking seems there is no connection but like i said earlier if you do a search of the forums you will see lots of different threads about thyriods problems and BC. so i still wonder if it is just a coincidence or not.
Interestinly, i have been taking part in the breakthrough generations study since 2007 and they recently sent me a questionaire where one of the questions was “have i ever had any thyriod problems” so this makes me wonder if this is something they are now looking into more .
Like the others have said though above, thyriod cancer is still quite rare, but thankfully is cureable, so i suspect you have proberly just been extreamly unlucky but it does make you wonder sometimes doest it.
Good luck with your treatments Jill,and huge hugs to you, realy not fair.
Linda x

Unfortunately it seems that Hurthle cell carcinoma is more aggressive , more likely to have mets in the lungs , bones and brain and less likely to be successfully treated by Radioactive Iodine treatment , so doesn’t have quite the same good prognosis of other Thyroid cancers .

Sorry to hear that you have a new primary BC Linda , hope things go well for you with that . However I would urge you to not let the Thyroid problem slide though .
I too was told that I had a multinodular and cystic goitre , which was scanned, I also had a FNB . I was told it was benign , and the only reason for removal was because it was pushing my trachea to the side… unfortunately after the op , histology showed there was a 4 cm Hurthle cell tumour . Apparently with Hurthle cell it is difficult to tell from FNB that it is cancerous .
It is interesting to note , that the follow up for Thyroid cancer is for life , with regular routine blood tests and scans . Whereas with BC it is only 5 years , with no blood tests or scans , although there are 10 years of mammograms.
Jill xx

Hi Lavendersblue
your post caught my eye because 3 years on from my radiotherapy I have been diagnosed with chronic myleoid leukemia. It is very frightening because I have had an enlarged liver and other problems, and I have not only to deal with the leukemia but am scared that I now have liver metastes as well. God knows how I’d cope with that over and above the leukemia. I too have been told that its random and highly unlikely to be linked to previous BC. Some people have all the luck eh!! I have to get an ultrasound on the liver ‘for reassurance’ but of course am very scared they’ll find something.

hi all, just recently dx secondry breast cancer in lymph nodes, started chemo, have been really really poorly and low, just dont know how to respond, would love to talk to others thank you alison

Hi bluebellcutting,
I pop into this site from time to time and have just seen your post. I am so sorry that you are feeling ill and low and just wanted to say “hi”.
I had my lymph nodes removed at the same time as my mastectomy as my cancer had already spread by the time I was first diagnosed. All is fine for me at the moment. The point of saying that is to try to encourage you that you will get through this, although it must feel very frightening at present.
When was your primary diagnosis?
I am sure others will respond to you shortly. I hope you have someone looking after you?
Will be thinking of you and wishing you well.
Verity x


im so sorry i didnt know you ad been diagnosed with cml. and loosing jacki too i cant believe how shit things are for you right now my dear… Sending much love to you… xxx

Hi Jill
i read your post with interest as i have secondary BC diagnosed four years ago with primary 7 years ago and earlier this year have also dealt with a thyroid cancer diagnosis. Mine was a common kind - a follicular variant of papillary thyroid carcinoma and I am now on thyroxine following a thyroidectomy. I previously had a benign multi nodular goitre and had the left side of my thyroid removed in 2005 (pre BC) so did wonder if radiotherapy and countless CT scans made what was a benign problem turn cancerous. my BC is strongly hormone positive and I also have insulin dependent diabetes - all endocrine problems so i think there must be a link but my oncologist doesn’t agree.
Heather. X