Breast and thyroid cancer combination

Mary60Mary60 Member Posts: 10

Hi everyone

I was diagnosed with HER2 positive breast cancer in October last year. I had  4 courses of chemotherapy to shrink the tumours in my breast and under my arm pit. This was followed by a lumpectomy and clearance of the axillary lymph nodes. I am also on 3 weekly doses of Herceptin for 12months. I completed 7 weeks of radiotherapy in May. I was starting to feel like my old self again but a bit of a shock changed all of that. I discovered a lump towards the end of my radiotherapy treatment. After investigation and numerous biopsies, I was diagnosed with metastatic papillary thyroid cancer. I have just had a total thyroidectomy and neck clearance and am waiting to have a follow up consult with my surgeon regarding the cancer pathology and next steps.

My question is has anyone else had this combination of cancers? My endocrine specialist told me that the thyroid cancer is totally unrelated to the breast cancer. So in other words I have had 2 separate primary cancers. I am wondering if this has any impact on recurrence and survival rates. It has been a double whammy to get  my head around this diagnosis on top of the breast cancer. I have an appointment with my medical oncologist next week and will discuss it with her. Also I am concerned regarding a seroma that has formed on my neck since the surgery and any advice people may have regarding managing ongoing lymphoedema from these 2 operations would be most welcome.


  • TanbaTanba Western sydney Member Posts: 16
    A year roughly before i was diagnosed with TNBC, i was diagnosed having 6 thyroid tumors on left, same side as my breast cancer. I was diagnosed with retrosternal multi nodular goiter. I was booked into hospital for a total thyroidectomy in feb 16, the in april back to same surgeon being diagnosed with breast cancer.  
  • Mary60Mary60 Member Posts: 10
    Hi Tanba
    Thanks for your reply. Sounds familiar.My thyroid cancer had spread to lymph nodes in my neck(left side). My breast cancer was on the left side as well. I think my initial full body scan in October 2016 showed something in my thyroid but my oncologist said not to worry about it as everyone's thyroid lights up in these scans. I can't help thinking that there may be a link but the doctors say otherwise. How are you going now? How are you finding the thyroid meds? I am on thyroxine and calcium supplements. I think I will also need radioiodine treatment in the next little while.

  • Molly001Molly001 Member Posts: 412
    I have a benign nodule on my thyroid, same side as bc
  • EarthWalkerLishaEarthWalkerLisha Epping, NSWMember Posts: 72
    @Mary60 That is a nasty surprise for you.  So sorry you've had to deal with a double whammy, that is really scary for you. 

    Have you had thyroid issues before your thyroid cancer diagnosis?  I only ask as I'm Hypothyroid with Hashimoto's and have a few benign goiters in my thyroid that we've been keeping an eye on for a few years.  Last year I was diagnosed with breast cancer, Invasive Ductal carcinoma grade 2, no node involvement.  I had breast conserving surgery with clear margins then I went through chemo and radiation. I checked on my Thyroid earlier this year and all was ok.  How did you find your Thyroid cancer?  Was it something you were monitoring? Like having nodules you were keeping an eye on?

    I'm not sure how you would manage a thyroid seroma, so I can't help you there sorry. It may need draining if it is large. I do have edema of my breast which I'm managing with massage.  I've also been on thyroxine for about 5 years which keeps my thyroid figures "stable".  Your oncologists can refer you to an Occupational therapist who can advise you on massage and lymphoedema problems and managing them.
  • primekprimek Broken HillMember Posts: 4,123
    I haven't heard a link with thyroid cancer and breast cancers. But there seems to be a higher chance of developing breast cancer with an overactive thyroid. The link below is to the research results

    I know of many women who have had different types of primary cancers and unfortunately have to undergo new treatment.  For your own peace of mind a referral to a geneticist for a consult if there is a link wouldn't hurt.

    I can only imagine how devastating this is for you. I wish you well with treatment.  Kath x
  • Mary60Mary60 Member Posts: 10
    Hi EarthWalkerLisha
    Thanks for your response and kind advice. I had no signs or symptoms of thyroid disease prior to being diagnosed with thyroid cancer. I suppose that's why  it was such a shock. Finding the thyroid cancer was purely accidental. I was worried about a lump on my chest near the sternum and asked the doctor to investigate it. That lump turned out to be nothing to worry about but the ultrasound showed a strange looking lymph node in my neck and when biopsied it was shown to contain thyroid tissue. It was a metastes from the throid cancer confirmed by my endocrinologist.
    It sounds like you are recovering well from your breast cancer. As well as anyone of us can from such a significant life change. I am sorry to hear about the oedema in your breast. I have lympoedema in my left arm which I have been massaging and wearing a compression sleeve (when I remember!). It is inconvenient but when I look at the big picture I am just happy to be alive
  • Mary60Mary60 Member Posts: 10
    Hi primek
    Thanks so much for the research link
  • Mary60Mary60 Member Posts: 10
    Hi Molly001
    I am sorry to hear about your benign nodule. I suppose the best thing to do is keep monitoring it with your doctor. I hope you are lucky and that it remains benign. You already have enough on your plate with breast cancer.
    Mary x
  • Mary60Mary60 Member Posts: 10
    Hi primek
    I posted to you the other day before saving my post and it only posted a few words. So sorry about that. Lesson for me ! 

    Thanks again for sending me the research link and for your kind words of support. I hope your recovery from breast cancer is going well. 
    Mary x
  • primekprimek Broken HillMember Posts: 4,123
    Thanks @Mary60. Yes going well and my hyperthyroidism is under control too. Sorting that out is on next years job list. 
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