Annual ThyCa Conference Draws Record Numbers

Over 400 thyroid cancer survivors, family members, and health care professionals participated in the 7th International Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Conference held in Chicago, Illinois, October 22 through 24, 2004. The conference was sponsored by ThyCa: Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Association, Inc.

The record number of attendees came from 37 states (also a new record), as well as the District of Columbia, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Thyroid cancer survivors attending ranged from people newly diagnosed to survivors of more than 30 years, from children through seniors.

Highlights of the conference’s 100-plus sessions included more than 30 physician presentations and Ask-a-Doctor sessions. The 18 physician speakers came from Duke University, major medical centers in Illinois, Mayo Clinic, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, National Cancer Institute, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, and many other major centers. Many stayed for two days to answer attendees’ questions both in and between sessions. Speakers also included pharmacists, nurses, mental health professionals, attorneys, specialists in complementary approaches to well-being, survivors of
each type of thyroid cancer (papillary, follicular, medullary, anaplastic, and variants), and caregivers.

“I was able to learn more about thyroid cancer in two and a half days than I would have learned in two and a half years on my own,” a Michigan attendee ommented. Another attendee wrote, “Great conference! Only wish I could have split my body into more than one to attend multiple sessions simultaneously. Medical professionals have been superb!” Another commented, “The doctors gave great broad and personal help. They have been terrific. The volunteers are fabulous!!!
” Another participant wrote, “Such helpful people…presenters, volunteers, everyone is very welcoming and warm.”

“We are honored that so many thyroid cancer survivors and their families attended the conference,” said ThyCa Board Chair Gary Bloom of Olney, Maryland, a nine-year thyroid cancer survivor. “Thyroid cancer requires lifelong management, and this conference is designed to help patients manage their care and quality of life long term,” continued Bloom.

“Thyroid cancer is one of the few cancers where the incidence rate is increasing. In fact, it’s had the fastest rate of incidence increase in women and the third fastest in men. It’s crucial that we provide education and support for patients and survivors,” said Bloom. “We are grateful to the dedicated thyroid cancer specialist physicians who so generously gave of their time in support of patient education and well-being.”

“We invite everyone to attend the 8th International Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Conference in Denver, Colorado, October 21-23, 2005,” concluded Bloom, “and throughout the year we welcome everyone to our local support groups coast to coast, as well as our one-day spring workshops already being planned.”

ThyCa: Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Association, Inc. is a national all-volunteer nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization of thyroid cancer survivors, families, and health care professionals, advised by nationally recognized thyroid cancer specialists and dedicated to support, education, and communication for thyroid cancer survivors, their families, and friends. For more information about ThyCa’s free year-round support services, education, and publications, e-mail to, call toll-free 1-877-588-7904, write to PO Box 1545,New York, NY 10159-1545, or visit the ThyCa web site.