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【SHINE】Woman's cancer relapse a cautionary tale about need for regular check-ups

May 21, 2020      Author: Cai Wenjun

Local doctors are urging tumor patients to receive regular medical checks and consultations after surgery.

A 51-year-old woman underwent surgery for thyroid cancer over 10 years ago. She thought she was cured and didn't heed her doctor's instructions to receive regular follow-up checks.

She found a lump on her neck earlier this year and it grew into the size of a fist within three months.

She went to Renji Hospital, under the Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, when the lump was 8 centimeters in diameter, seriously impacting her life and work.

Doctors confirmed it was a relapse of her cancer and conducted an operation to remove the mass. They also did a skin transplantation to cover the wound.

Thyroid cancer covers about 1 percent of all cancer cases, and affects more women than men. It can be found in people of all ages, while patients who are young and middle-aged are more prevalent, said Dr Wang Zhuoying, director of Renji's neck surgery department.

"Usually, surgery on thyroid cancer has good outcomes but after-surgery treatment and follow-up checks are a long-term and necessary process," he said. "Patients should visit their doctor every three months during the first two years after surgery, and then visit the doctor every six months if their condition is stable. Regular checks can identity relapse and other problems in time."

Dr Wang Zhuoying (left) from Renji Hospital in surgery.