Just after Christmas, President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner was told she had thyroid cancer (papillary carcinoma), the thyroid gland was surgically removed on January 4th, laboratory results now show that there were no cancerous cells - she did not have cancer. Experts say this can occur in approximately 2% of cases and was not a diagnosis error.
The thyroid gland has several functions, mainly controlling how rapidly our bodies use energy, make proteins, respond to other hormones. The thyroid gland functions have an important impact on our body temperature, body weight, heart rate, and blood pressure.
The thyroid gland produces thyroid hormones, such as thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) - they regulate our rate of metabolism and affect the growth and rate of function of several other body systems.
Cristina Fernández de Kirchner will now have to take hormonal medication for the rest of her life, because she no longer has a thyroid gland.
President of Argentine, Cristina Elisabet Fernández de Kirchner
Alfredo Scoccimaro, presidential spokesman, said:
"The original diagnosis has been modified. The presence of
cancer cells was discarded."
Experts say that in a small number of cases, cells which originally pointed towards cancer are found to be non-cancerous, and does not necessarily mean the diagnosis was a medical error.
About thyroid cancer
There are several types of thyroids cancers, including:
- Papillary thyroid cancer - approximately four-fifths of all cases are of this type. Most frequently, the diagnosed patient is aged between 30 and 50 years.
- Follicular thyroid cancer - approximately 11% of all cases are of this type, usually in patients aged over 50 years.
- Medullary thyroid cancer - about 4% of all cases are of this type. Some individuals have a genetic mutation (fault) which significantly raises their chances of developing this type of cancer, as well as cancer in other glands.
- Anaplastic thyroid cancer - about 1% to 2% of all cases are of this type. This aggressive cancer usually affects older patients (over 60).
- Thyroid lymphoma - about 1% to 2% of all cases are of this type. It is a rare cancer which usually affects older patients (over 70). It is also an aggressive cancer. This cancer starts off in the immune system cells within the thyroid gland.
Written by Christian Nordqvist