ThyCa: Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Association (www.thyca.org) Marks 15th Year Serving Patients, Families, Professionals, and Public

Support Services, Education, Conferences, Outreach, and Thyroid Cancer Research Grants by Gary Bloom, Roselle Kovitz, Cherry Wunderlich

Thyroid cancer, which occurs in people of all ages from young children though seniors, is now diagnosed in about 37,000 people in the United States each year. While the majority of cases are treatable, with an excellent prognosis, some will not be so fortunate. For everyone, a diagnosis of thyroid cancer is life changing, regardless of its severity.

ThyCa: Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Association provides a broad range of free support services, publications, and events to help thyroid cancer patients, their families, caregivers, and friends.

ThyCa’s free services and resources include 11 e-mail support groups and a Facebook presence serving over 10,500 participants. The Person-to-Person Network matches people seeking support with a volunteer with the same diagnosis. The Toll-Free Number Team and E-Mail Team provide one-to-one support. More than 80 local support groups in 35 U.S. states, as well as Canada, Costa Rica, and Philippines, help survivors and caregivers meet others in their communities.

ThyCa’s Web site (www.thyca.org) provides more than 650 pages of comprehensive, medically reviewed thyroid cancer information, plus connections to ThyCa services, events, and other organizations, including AACE. ThyCa receives ongoing input from its 33-member Medical Advisory Council and over two dozen additional thyroid cancer specialists.

Free downloadable publications on the Web site include the widely used ThyCa Low-Iodine Cookbook, available in English, French, and Spanish with guidelines from ThyCa medical advisors and researchers, and over 250 delicious recipes. It helps people with papillary and follicular thyroid cancer prepare for radioiodine scans or treatments.

ThyCa mails out free patient information packets and free pediatric backpacks. The free online newsletter ThyCa News Notes goes to more than 15,000 people each month. ThyCa also sponsors Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month in September, and year-round awareness campaigns.

Free bulk materials for physicians, hospitals, and community groups include the Thyroid Cancer Awareness Brochure featuring actress Catherine Bell, a thyroid cancer survivor; a fine needle aspiration booklet in English and Spanish, plastic wallet cards, and “Do you have thyroid cancer” brochures.

Free regional workshops feature physician speakers and will take place on Saturday, April 17, 2010, in Kansas City, Missouri; on Saturday, May 22, in Towson, Maryland; and on Saturday, May 29, in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada.

The annual 3-day Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Conference grows each year, with more than 450 thyroid cancer survivors, caregivers, and health care professionals gathering last October in Boston, Massachusetts, from around the United States, Brazil, Canada, Puerto Rico, and United Kingdom. The 100-plus sessions included nearly 50 physician-led sessions with more than 25 physician speakers.

The 13th International Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Conference will take place on October 15-17, 2010, in Dallas, Texas. The conference has a nominal registration fee of $50, or $30 for registrants/ guests, with scholarships for the registration fee available on request.

ThyCa raises funds for thyroid cancer research to find cures for all thyroid cancer, recognizing that many have lost their lives to thyroid cancer. ThyCa awarded the first patient-funded thyroid cancer research grant in 2003 and has awarded grants every year since. It will award two new research grants in 2010. One project will focus on papillary, follicular, and anaplastic, and the other on medullary thyroid cancer.

ThyCa grants are available to researchers worldwide. Recipients have included researchers at Cochin Institut, Harvard Medical School, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Ohio State University and Medical University of Gdansk, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center, University Hospital Basel, University Hospital Duesseldorf, University of California Los Angeles/Veterans Affairs West Los Angeles Health Care System, and University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

We thank the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists for the opportunity to introduce ThyCa’s services and resources. We invite all AACE members to tell your patients about ThyCa’s Web site, free services and resources. We greatly appreciate the fine work that endocrinologists do in support of patient care and well-being, and in research toward cures for all thyroid cancer.

For information or to request free materials, e-mail thyca@thyca.org, call 1-877-588-7904, fax to 1-630-604-6078, write ThyCa: Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Association, Inc., PO Box 1545, New York, NY 10159-1545, or visit www.thyca.org.