SELF Magazine Responds
The following letter was received via email in response to ThyroidChange's letter to Self magazine regarding their April 2013 article regarding thyroid cancer. ThyroidChange felt compelled to respond. Please consider contacting SELF magazine at firstname.lastname@example.org and let them know how YOU feel.
Michelle T. Bickford, co-founder
Denise Rodriguez, co-founder
Dear Ms. Bickford and Rodriguez,
We've seen the letter that ThyroidChange members were urged to send to SELF, as well as the social media reaction to our May Health News article about thyroid cancer. We respect what thyroid and other cancer survivors have been through and we are also committed to giving our readers the best and latest information about their health.
To wit, we've re-examined our piece in view of the critiques and we think a close reading of SELF's article shows that we have addressed the topic thoroughly and that we did not "minimize" thyroid cancer. We don't suggest that readers remain passive if diagnosed with thyroid cancer, or ignore it. However, because over-diagnosis and over-treatment of cancers are themselves a risk -- an idea that's gaining more traction as we learn more about the disease in general -- we also explain that some researchers are finding that survival rates may still be high if you don't treat thyroid cancer. This "watch and wait" idea may seem surprising, but the expert quoted is not saying that people never die from thyroid cancer, only suggesting that there may be another perspective to have on this cancer. Nor do we suggest that this is the case with every thyroid cancer. We don't imply that this is a good cancer to have, only that it has excellent survival rates, and that there is a possibility that treatment may not affect the survival rates. We also discuss what treatment consists of in detail-- particularly for women in their child-bearing years, who form the bulk of our readership. We explain that the current protocol is still to treat thyroid cancer, but given this emerging information, a patient will want to work closely with her doctor to make a decision that is right for her.
We appreciate your active advocacy on behalf of those living with thyroid cancer and we hope that you'll continue to read SELF and let us know what you think.
Patricia J Singer
Research Director, SELF