General News

Dr. Spyros Mezitis Presents New Information on Thyroid Disease and Cancer

NEW YORK – Dr. Spyros Mezitis, senior endocrinologist in New York City, recently presented new information on thyroid disease and cancer treatment in Grand Rounds for gynecologists at Lenox Hill Hospital.

Why discuss thyroid gland disease?

Because it affects 10 million people in the United States, more women than men and half don’t know about it!

The thyroid gland in the front of the neck is a small vascular organ shaped like a butterfly that protects the body’s functions.

It secretes chemicals that via blood affect all the cells in the body and its metabolism.

If it works too little, we have an underactive thyroid gland that causes fatigue, weight gain, hair loss, and menstrual irregularities.

The main cause is autoimmune, that means the body is attacking its own thyroid, identifying it as part of an old infection.

We can measure the thyroid chemical in the blood (hormone levothyroxine T4) and the brain signal (thyroid stimulating hormone TSH) ordering the thyroid to produce thyroid hormone.

The underactive thyroid is treated with thyroid hormone replacement, one oral tablet daily.

If the thyroid is hyperactive and produces too much thyroid hormone, then patients become nervous, lose weight and sleep, have rapid heart beats and need to be treated with medication to reduce the hyperactivity.

Iodine enters the thyroid cells to become part of the thyroid hormone and when tagged with radioactivity can be used to burn the overactive thyroid cells or thyroid cancer cells.

How do we find thyroid cancer? The thyroid gland may develop clumps of thyroid cells called nodules that on biopsy may demonstrate malignancy.

Apart from resecting the malignant thyroid gland, we can use radioactive iodine, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy to treat metastatic disease.

New monoclonal antibodies can block thyroid cancer pathways and tag cancer cells to be destroyed by immune killer cells.

In pregnancy and the postpartum thyroid hormone levels change. Hypothyroid mothers need more thyroid hormone replacement to cover for fetal needs and avoid miscarriage.

Hyperthyroid mothers are treated with antithyroid medications that can affect the fetus or have thyroidectomy surgery in extreme cases.

The family physicians need to think of thyroid disease particularly in young women who complain of sluggishness and depression.

Endocrinologists need to be consulted if patients are significantly hypothyroid or hyperthyroid, have thyroid nodules, are pregnant or have thyroid cancer.

Feel tired or excessively nervous, think thyroid, talk to your doctor and have your thyroid tests checked, TSH and free T4.

Dr. Mezitis office is located at 220 East 69th Street, New York, NY 10021. Phone: 212-288-6661.


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