ThyCa NEWS NOTES – March 2008

In This Issue

ThyCa Invites You To Attend These Informative Spring Workshops

Attendance at all of these workshops is free.

We know that these workshops will give you information you need so that you won’t feel “in the dark” about thyroid cancer.

To register for any of the workshops announced below, or to get more details, visit ThyCa’s Conferencespage or call toll-free 1-877-588-7904.

We encourage you to register online in advance. Walk-in attendees are welcome also.

Saturday, April 19, 2008 – 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Second Annual Texas/Southwest Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Workshop
at the Medical Center Plano, Bldg. III, 3rd floor Auditorium, 4001 West 15th Street, Plano, TX 75093. Physician Speaker will be Ernest L. Mazzaferri, M.D., Endocrinologist and Past President of the American Thyroid Association and ThyCa Medical Advisor (and other speakers, to be announced). Also featuring Janet Adams, Certified Laugh Leader, and, to answer questions,Thyrogen Representative Edie Dodson of Genzyme and Abbott Representative Patrick Alcorn. Walk-in attendees are welcome.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008 – 5 to 8 p.m.
Chicago/Midwest Thyroid Cancer Public Education Symposium
at The Robert H. Lurie Medical Research Center of Northwestern University, 303 East Superior Street, Chicago, IL. Speakers will include Peter Kopp, M.D., Associate Professor, Division of Endocrinology; Dina Elaraj, M.D., Assistant Professor, Division of Endocrine Surgery; Jose Dutra, M.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Otolaryngology/Head & Neck Surgery; Stewart Spies, M.D., Professor, Department of Radiology; and Cord Sturgeon, M.D., Assistant Professor, Division of Endocrine Surgery. This event is free and open to the public. Dinner is included for everyone who pre-registers.

Saturday, May 3, 2008 – 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Vermont/New England Thyroid Cancer Public Education Symposium
at the Stowe High School, 413 Barrows Road, Stowe, VT. Physician speakers include Beatriz Tendler, M.D., Endocrinologist and Assistant Professor of Medicine, University of Connecticut Health Center in Farmington, CT, and David W. Cheng, M.D., PhD. Assistant Professor of Diagnostic Radiology and Clinical Chief of Nuclear Medicine of Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, CT. Plus Patients’ Perspectives with Jaime Toth, ThyCa Southern Connecticut Support Group Facilitator. Two optional special added events for this event will be a Thyroid Cancer Dessert Social on Friday evening, May 2 from 7:30 to 9:00 p.m. to meet Dr. Cheng. Plus, on Saturday evening, a special dinner, which is free to the first 50 registrants.

Saturday, May 10, 2008 – 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Seventh Annual Mid-Atlantic Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Workshop
will be held near Washington, DC, and I-495, at the Physicians Conference Center at Fairfax Hospital, 3300 Gallows Road, Falls Church, VA. Medical Professional Speakers include Douglas W. Ball, M.D., Endocrinologist at John Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, MD; Lisa M. Boyle, M.D., Surgeon at Washington Hospital Center in Washington, DC; Frank R. Crantz, M.D., Endocrinologist in McLean, VA; Janis I. Halzel, Pharm.D., Pharmacist with Consensus Medical Communications in Centennial, CO; Heather Jacene, M.D., Nuclear Medicine Physician at John Hopkins Medical Institutions in Baltimore, MD; Jacqueline Jonklaas, M.D., Endocrinologist at the Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, DC; and Marina Zemskova, M.D., Endocrinologist at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD. Free event with parking in the garage (Bring the ticket from the garage to the registration desk, for a voucher to cover the parking).

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Welcome to the Newest Texas Support Group

This new group meets on the first Monday evening of every month starting April 7th in Fort Worth, Texas. Thank you, Debra Drzich, for starting this new support group!

Find the group nearest you, and meet others in your community.
Call (toll-free) 1-877-588-7904.

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Radio Messages Raise Awareness

Three new radio public service announcements are raising awareness of thyroid cancer and the 11th International Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Conference. Thank you to John Breen, WDTV NewsChannel 5, Clarksburg, West Virginia. You can hear these messages by going to either our Conferences page or ourAwareness page.

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Clinical Trials Page

Visit this page to find links to all the current clinical trials for advanced thyroid cancer of all types. This page also has helpful information for patients if you’re considering a clinical trial.

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Plans for Zactima New Drug Application

AstraZeneca recently made public their continuing plans to submit a New Drug Application, for Zactima to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in the 4th quarter of 2008. It appears that the indications will be both medullary thyroid cancer and lung cancer. Zactima is being used in clinical trials for Medullary Thyroid Cancer (MTC). This drug continues to progress through the stages of clinical research for medullary thyroid cancer. Even if the approval for use in MTC doesn’t come until later, the drug might be available for off-label use for MTC as early as the second or third quarter of 2009.

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Rally for Research 2008

Please join our Rally for Research as we work toward our dream of cures for all thyroid cancer.

ThyCa’s Research Grants are open to all institutions and all researchers worldwide. Grants are awarded on the basis of scientific merit, regardless of hospital or institutional affiliation.

You will find details on the Rally for Research page.

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A Special Memorial Event

On Saturday, May 18, 2008, Big John of the Hangin’ Tree Saloon in Bracken, Texas, will host a benefit golf tournament in honor and loving memory of his friend and longtime ThyCa volunteer Megan Stendebach of San Antonio, Texas. He has named the tournament the Megan Stendebach Memorial Golf Tournament for Thyroid Cancer Research.

Megan volunteered in many ways to help others, at our conferences, by composing and sharing songs about coping with the challenges of thyroid cancer, and by organizing several golf tournaments for thyroid cancer research.

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Introducing a ThyCa Volunteer

Hundreds of thyroid cancer survivors, family members and caregivers, friends, and health care professionals generously contribute their time and talents to sustain and strengthen our free support services and resources. Each has a story to tell, about his or her connection with thyroid cancer. In this article, one of our new outreach and publications volunteers shares her story.

My Story
By Julia McGuire of Virginia

My diagnosis came the summer before my junior year of college in 2002. For a couple years prior, a growth on my thyroid was monitored and a biopsy was taken which came back benign. With no reason to worry, I was always cognizant of the growth but felt relieved by the biopsy. Unfortunately, early that summer, my endocrinologist found that the nodule had begun to grow rapidly, and recommended a partial thyroidectomy to be completed that July.

The surgeon who performed my partial thyroidectomy biopsied the nodule and found that I did indeed have a follicular variant of papillary cancer. I received the diagnosis over the phone, and being young and overwhelmed, I then had a difficult two weeks. I decided to take a short vacation away to take my mind off things.

Upon my return, I had my second partial thyroidectomy to remove the remaining part of my thyroid gland in August, and returned to college in Pittsburgh two weeks later against my parent’s advice. My return home in December was when I received my first body scan and radioactive iodine treatment.

It was a difficult year to balance the diagnosis, schooling, and newfound stress. I found what helped me get through this period in my life was just to make a point to continue on with my life. I wasn’t going to let this get in the way of my future plans.

Through this experience I have learned that cancer can affect anyone, and that people must always be self-aware of any changes that occur on their bodies.

Each year my body scans have turned out negative and I have been blessed thus far to be five years cancer free.

Since I’ve graduated college I’ve continued on with my life by getting married to a wonderful husband, growing my professional career, and spreading cancer awareness informally and formally.

My diagnosis was a turning point in my life that helped me become the person I am today. I take pride in overcoming these obstacles, and make sure to live my life healthily in all aspects physically and mentally.

I believe that the most important lesson out of any cancer diagnosis is to remember to appreciate those who stuck with you and helped you through the very arduous path to health and recovery.

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Nathania’s Creative Outreach

In January 2008, Nathania Johnson, longtime ThyCa volunteer, of North Carolina, entered a weight-loss contest and named ThyCa as her charity for support. Nathania updates her blog frequently, telling others about her progress in the contest while helping raise awareness of thyroid cancer and connecting them with ThyCa’s free support services and resources.

Thank you, Nathania!

By the Way, A Word About My Charity
February 15th, 2008
By Nathania Johnson

Yesterday, I celebrated 5 years of being a cancer survivor. Now, the word survivor can be confusing. I’m not cured yet. I do have traces of suspicious tissue remaining in my body. But they only show up in the blood work and aren’t found on MRIs or Nuclear Body scans, so it’s not life threatening or anything.

The Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Association (ThyCa) is a truly amazing organization and I don’t know what I would have done without them. The funny thing about thyroid cancer is how misunderstood it is by the medical community in general. You see endocrinologists, not oncologists to be treated (as well as surgeons and nuclear medicine physicians).

And even then, so many endocrinologists do not know how to treat thyroid cancer. ThyCa helped me understand my disease, know what kind of tests and treatments I should be getting. As a result, I’ve been able to choose my doctors very carefully.

ThyCa has educational programs (including a yearly conference and workshops) and support groups all over the country. They also give money to research efforts.

As I’m writing, the news just reported that obesity can lead to higher rates of thyroid cancer in men. So it’s all the more important that I’m in a weight loss contest with ThyCa as the beneficiary. I only wish I was doing better in the contest. But I did want to take the opportunity to raise awareness.

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Conference Lovers — We’d Love Your Help Getting the Word Out

Our 11th Annual International Thyroid Cancer Survivor’s Conference on October 17-19, 2008, in St. Louis, Missouri, promises to be the best yet.

If the conference helped you as it has so many who’ve attended, we’d like to ask for your help in getting the word out.

What we need: People who are willing to work with our small promotion team to send out press releases, make calls, and submit calendar postings to media. Let us know if you have contacts in the media, know of local cancer organizations that would help us get the word out, or would like to provide other ideas and support.

If you are interested in helping out, please contact us at

We hope you can come to the conference. You’ll find details here.

And our new Conference Press Room is here.

Roselle Kovitz
Mary Catherine Petermann
Conference Outreach Coordinators

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Our Appreciation to Our Generous Donors


ThyCa’s Members and Individual Donors

  • Abbott Laboratories
  • Amgen
  • AstraZeneca
  • Exelixis
  • Fleming and Company
  • Genzyme Therapeutics
  • King Pharmaceuticals

Thank you for your wonderful support!

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Low-Iodine Recipe of the Month

A Delicious Quick Bread
Contributed by Alice U.


12 ounces cranberries
4 cups flour (as noted below, take out 2 Tablespoons to coat the cranberries)
2 cups sugar
1 Tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ cup canola oil
1 ½ cups orange juice
3 egg whites

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Spray 2 loaf pans with a vegetable spray (or grease and flour the loaf pans).

Wash cranberries and coat with the 2 Tablespoons flour taken from the 4 cups of flour.

Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda.
In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites well. Add the oil and juice to the egg whites.

Stir all the above ingredients together just to moisten.
Fold in the whole cranberries.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 60 minutes or until wooden pick comes out clean.
Cool on rack for 15 minutes.

Important! Wrap tightly while slightly warm and store in refrigerator overnight before eating. Juice gradually oozes from the cranberries and makes the bread deliciously moist!

Alice says, “This is an easy, delicious healthy orange cranberry bread, that I make frequently even when I am not on a low iodine diet! I would like to contribute it for the new cookbook.” (Note: When you’re not on the low-iodine diet, instead of the 3 egg whites you may use 2 eggs.)

Thank you, Alice! Great idea also about enjoying this bread even when you’re not on the diet! Your recipe will be added to the next edition of the FREE Downloadable Low-Iodine Cookbook. Download the cookbook, with more than 250 favorite recipes from more than 100 generous volunteers.

Send your favorite recipe to, for a future newsletter and the cookbook’s next edition.

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What ThyCa Can Do For You

  • Give information on thyroid cancer
  • Offer support via the Internet, local support group meetings, and person-to-person contacts
  • Supply materials on thyroid cancer that you can’t find elsewhere
  • Offer you an annual conference and regional workshops where you can meet other survivors, and get answers to your questions about thyroid cancer, treatments, medications, and more, from doctors who are approachable and experts in thyroid cancer
  • Make available to you via the Internet printable newsletters that give the latest information on thyroid cancer
  • Have people available who have been through this disease and are very willing to share their experiences and help you out

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Thank You for Helping

Out thanks to all the wonderful volunteers who are helping ThyCa with awareness, outreach, support services, and special events, as well as fundraising to sustain and strengthen our services and support thyroid cancer research.

Here are 5 ways you can help:

  • Tell others about and our toll-free survivors’ line 1-877-588-7904
  • Raise Awareness of Thyroid Cancer—Get Free Materials.
  • Volunteer: We’ll help you find an activity to match your time and talents.
  • Become a Member: Our thanks to all our one-year members, two-year members, and lifetime members.
  • Donate:Donate by mail or online, or give a tribute gift in honor of someone special.

Copyright (c) 2008 ThyCa: Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Association, Inc.

Thank you to Pat Paillard, Editor and Contributor, and the writers, editors, and proofreaders for this issue: Gary Bloom, Nathania Johnson, Roselle Kovitz, Julia McGuire, Mary Catherine Petermann, Alice U., and Cherry Wunderlich.

The deadline for articles and news items is the first day of each month. Suggestions for articles are welcome.

We invite you to send News Notes to your family and friends. For permission to reprint in another electronic or print publication, please contact us at

ThyCa: Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Association, Inc. is a national non-profit 501(c)(3) organization (tax ID #52-2169434) of thyroid cancer survivors, family members, and health care professionals. We are dedicated to support, education, and communication for thyroid cancer survivors, their families and friends, as well as to public awareness for early detection, treatment, and lifetime health monitoring, and to thyroid cancer research fundraising and research grants.

Contact us for free awareness materials and information about our free services and special events. E-mail, call 1-877-588-7904, fax 1-630-604-6078, write PO Box 1102, Olney, MD 20830-1102, or visit