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All TopicsForum: DCIS (Ductal Carcinoma In Situ) → Topic: Breast Cancer and Graves Disease

Topic: Breast Cancer and Graves Disease

Forum: DCIS (Ductal Carcinoma In Situ) — Just diagnosed, in treatment, or finished treatment for DCIS.

Posted on: Feb 1, 2011 01:02PM

NotAfraid wrote:

I had DCIS 6 years ago and developed Graves Disease at the same time. Since that time, I've run into quite a few other women who have had the double whammy of these two autoimmune diseases at the same time.  Anyone else here have these 2 diseases appear at the same time?

Dx 1/10/2011, DCIS, 1cm, Stage 0, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Posts 1 - 24 (24 total)

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Feb 3, 2011 09:28PM Ricki13 wrote:

This is interesting.

I was dxed with Graves disease in mid 2007, then TNBC in late 2008.  

My own theory (unsupported by any evidence whatsoever!) is that my health problems began in 2005 when I had a dreadful throat infection (pharyngitis) that took me months (not weeks) to get over. I've never been so sick.  Even a year later my vocal chords were compromised and I even had some voice therapy.  I have this idea that the throat infection caused a lot of damage to my immune system and that opened the door for Graves and then BC to develop.

 Incidentally, for Graves I was treated with neomercazole only (5 tabs/day) and I am currently within normal TSH levels etc.

Dx 12/22/2008, IDC, 1cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 1/12 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Feb 4, 2011 06:18PM GrandHillMom wrote:

I was diagnosed with Graves' in 2001 and BC in 2005--however, I was Stage IIIb at diagnosis, so I think I had BC for a long time before 2005.  I also had shingles around the time of the Graves' and pneumonia in 2004.  I think my body was trying to fight the cancer and my immune system was overstressed. 

3//2006 Rt: IDC, DCS & IDC, ER+PR+HER2- IIIB, Lt: IDC IIA ER+PR-HER2-; ACT, bilateral radiation, Tamoxifen and megace. 3/2010, bone mets skull, spine, ribs, pelvis, femurs, Aromasin and Zometa. 5/2012 clear cell ovarian cancer, carbo/taxol
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Feb 4, 2011 07:19PM hdaleman wrote:

I feel that there is a link between my Graves disease and my bc.  My hyperthyroidism went undignosed and got really bad.  I wish they would do more research is this area.  I do believe that there is a link.

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Feb 4, 2011 07:29PM carol1949 wrote:

I am hypothyroid and the first words my oncologist said to me was she thought my bc had something to do with my thyroid.  Many physicians and alternative physicians believe bc to be a disease from a weakened immune system.  Certainly after chemo, we all have a compromised immune system.

I would highly suggest reading Patrick Quillon's Beating Cancer With Nutrition.  He basically tells how to improve our immune systems!

Dx 4/4/2008, IDC, 6cm+, Stage IIIB, ER+, HER2-
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Feb 4, 2011 07:42PM kim40 wrote:

Interesting.  I was d/x with Graves disease in 2002 and breast cancer in 2008.  I often wondered the same thing.  More research should definelty be done in this area.

Kim "I Run for Life" - Melissa Ethridge Dx 1/6/2009, IDC, 5cm, Stage IIIC, Grade 3, 14/19 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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Feb 4, 2011 09:16PM beacon800 wrote:

My hashimoto's autoimmune thyroid was diagnosed within 4 months of my LCIS dx.  My mom had graves disease and got IDC.  I have read there is a much higher than expected number of women with thyroid disease who then get bc.

LCIS, PLCIS. Dx 7/24/2009, LCIS, Stage 0, 0/0 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Feb 4, 2011 09:54PM LisaAlissa wrote:

I've never heard DCIS described as an "autoimmune disease."  What's the basis for the assumption in your survey question?

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Feb 5, 2011 02:05AM Shrek4 wrote:

I was diagnosed with Graves Disease in 2003 and with DCIS, LCIS, IDC, ILC and cribriform in 2009. Of course the dr. said it was there probably for almost 20 years.

By my understanding (and after a discussion with my BS who is an Oncology surgeon specialized in breast cancer), the connection with thyroid disease is only referring to the hypo-thyroid. When it comes to hyperthyroid though, there is a connection there, but not with the thyroid per se. It is due to the fact that the rapid metabolism robs us of Vit D, and there is a clear connection between low level of Vit. D and breast cancer.

Autoimmune thyroid disease does NOT mean a weakened immune system, but an immune system that doesn't recognize it's own body's tissues and starts attacking them.

In Hashimoto, the immune system is not weakened - on the contrary, it starts attacking the thyroid gland. Physiologically, these auto-antibodies are targeted against thyroid peroxidase and thyroglobulin, which is causing a gradual destruction of follicles in the thyroid gland itself. The thyroid tries to keep up in most cases by growing and thus forming a goiter, and in other cases it just gets destroyed.

Graves Disease is also an autoimmune disease, but, the same as for Hashimoto's, the immune system in this case is not weaker, on the contrary, it becomes too "feisty" and starts attacking the own body's tissues. Different than Hashimoto's, in this case the immune system forms antibodies that attack the Thyroid stimulating hormone receptor, thus unbalancing the very delicate relationship between the pituitary (that releases the thyroid stimulating hormone - TSH) and the thyroid that responds to the TSH. Thus, the thyroid starts producing uncontrolled thyroid hormone, and can even start growing out of control forming a goiter. The major difference between Hashimoto's and Graves is that in Graves the antibodies also attack the tissues around the eye (Graves Eye Disease) causing proptosis and in some cases, the tissues on the shins. Hashimoto's doesn't cause eye problems, while Graves does cause serious eye problems and in some cases can lead to blindness.

The relation between cancer and immune system is that the immune system normally destroys cancer cells (which everybody has at one point or another in their body, without causing problems), but in some cases it stops destroying them. Cancer is not so much a matter of cells growing uncontrollably, but of cells not dying in a normal rhythm (the apoptosis - cell death - is much slowed).

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Feb 5, 2011 02:25PM NotAfraid wrote:

Great explaination, Day!

 The short overview from Wiki sums up what an autoimmune disease is:

Autoimmune diseases arise from an overactive immune response of the body against substances and tissues normally present in the body. In other words, the body actually attacks its own cells. The immune system mistakes some part of the body as a pathogen and attacks it. This may be restricted to certain organs (e.g. in chagas disease) or involve a particular tissue in different places (e.g. Goodpasture's disease which may affect the basement membrane in both the lung and the kidney). The treatment of autoimmune diseases is typically with immunosuppression—medication which decreases the immune response.

Dx 1/10/2011, DCIS, 1cm, Stage 0, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Feb 6, 2011 01:30PM collie-flower wrote:

Wow, great explanations Ladies!  I was diagnosed with two auto-immune diseases: Graves in 1987 (treated with radioactive iodine) and Discoid Lupus in 1990.  I've often wondered if there was a link between them and my BC diagnosis in 2009??? 

Dx 2/18/2009, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Feb 6, 2011 08:39PM kim40 wrote:

Thank you Day!  It certainly do make a lot of sense that the two are related.

Kim "I Run for Life" - Melissa Ethridge Dx 1/6/2009, IDC, 5cm, Stage IIIC, Grade 3, 14/19 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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Feb 8, 2011 09:24PM krista613 wrote:

I was diagnosed with Graves disease in 12/09 and then breast cancer 9/10.  Ive never heard of a correlation, but surprised when I read about all on here that have had both!

Dx 9/21/2010, IDC, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Feb 8, 2011 09:30PM YramAL wrote:

I was diagnosed with Graves' disease in 1982 and treated with radioactive iodine. Diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009. I've often wondered if my cancer was a result of the RI treatment. My oncologist says no, but I still wonder. 

Mary 

Mary-Oncotype Score 11 Dx 12/7/2009, IDC, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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May 16, 2011 04:52PM juliet62 wrote:

i had graves in 1996 and treated with radioactive iodine,  diagnosed with bc in 4/11,

Dx 4/21/2011, DCIS, 1cm, Stage 0, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Radiation Therapy 5/23/2011 Hormonal Therapy 7/26/2011
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May 19, 2011 01:53PM NotAfraid wrote:

My unofficial research continues.....I've talked with so many more women who have had breast cancer AND another autoimmune disease appear at the same time.  It has not necessarily been Graves, but Fibro Myalgia, Chrones, MS, RA and Polymyocitis. 

I guess it makes sense that when your body is attacking itself (as with cancer) other form of attack will happen.  

Dx 1/10/2011, DCIS, 1cm, Stage 0, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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May 20, 2011 02:48AM StaceyLynn wrote:

Graves Disease in 1997 treated with radioactive iodine and lupus (SLE) diagnosed for the 2nd time in 2009. (In the late '80s I was dx with SLE, but no doctor would provide any type of treatment.)

Dx 9/9/2010, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/4 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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May 20, 2011 05:08AM slinky wrote:

Graves Disease in 1995 and dx with BC 1/11.  I was also treated with radioactive iodine and I now take medication daily.

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May 21, 2011 11:05PM , edited May 22, 2011 03:28PM by Rennasus

Diagnosed with Graves Disease in June 1993 and treated with radioactive iodine. I now take 125mcgs of Synthroid daily. 

Shortly after I was diagnosed with Graves, I found a large lump in my breast that seemed to come out of nowhere (coincidentally, it was in the same breast I ended up getting IDC in Dec 2010). When I told my endocrinologist I found a lump, I remember him getting flustered and saying, "Holy shit. Your metabolism is revving, which could make ANY lumps grow bigger. You need to get it checked out." He referred me to a breast surgeon. It turned out to be a cyst.

I tried Tapazole to slow down my thyroid function but had a bad reaction to it so I had to do the radioactive iodine in summer 1993.

It was 17 years between my Graves diagnosis and my BC diagnosis. For me, I don't think there is any correlation. I think it's just bad luck.

My dance with the Big C: theBigCandme.blogspot.com/ ***BMX & TE on Feb 3; then 3 incision revisions (2/19, 3/28 & 4/26). 

BMX & TE 2/3/11; incision revisions 2/19/11, 3/28/11, 4/26/11; right TE removed 7/6/11; put back 12/1/11; exchange Sept. 5, 2012. Tamoxifen: Mar 2011-Sept 2013; Femara Nov 2013 to ? Blogging at: thebigcandme.blogspot.com/ Dx 12/8/2010, IDC, 3cm, Stage IB, Grade 1, 0/8 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 2/3/2011 Lymph node removal: Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary, Right Surgery 2/3/2011 Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Surgery 2/19/2011 Reconstruction (right) Hormonal Therapy 3/24/2011 Surgery 3/28/2011 Reconstruction (right) Surgery 4/26/2011 Reconstruction (right) Surgery 7/6/2011 Reconstruction (right) Surgery 12/1/2011 Reconstruction (right) Surgery 9/5/2012 Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Hormonal Therapy 11/1/2013 Femara (letrozole)
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May 23, 2011 07:54AM hopefor30 wrote:

I did not have Graves disease, but I did get thyroid cancer - AFTER - my breast cancer diagnosis, not before.    So, in my case, the radioactive iodine did not cause the breast cancer.   Who knows?   I just feel very unlucky to get two cancers in a three year time period.

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May 25, 2011 04:32PM She wrote:

Very interesting thread.  I had no thyroid problems until after rads to lt breast.  Then I got Graves, and like others tried Tapazole and then went for RAI.  My eyes are affected and so are my shins.  I had a beauty of a goiter but it went away with the RAI.

I think my thyroid got hit with rads 'scatter' which triggered hyperthyroidism that progressed to Graves.  I also have RA in my neck now, never had it before but (sigh) it could be age too.

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Jun 7, 2011 08:11AM kimf wrote:

Wow! This is really interesting...I'm in this group, too. IDC in 12/04, Thyroid cancer in 6/06 but the goiter was there at the bc dx...it just biopsied negative initially. However, still had the thyroidectomy after bc tx and came back pos for papillary carcinoma/follicular variant. Now I'm dealing with what looks like autoimmune. Testing still being done. So many of us, blows my mind.

Kimf Dx 12/16/2004, IDC, 3cm, Stage IIIC, Grade 3, 15/23 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+
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Jun 7, 2011 10:28PM Rennasus wrote:

Kim, sorry to hear it. Let us know how your tests come back!

BMX & TE 2/3/11; incision revisions 2/19/11, 3/28/11, 4/26/11; right TE removed 7/6/11; put back 12/1/11; exchange Sept. 5, 2012. Tamoxifen: Mar 2011-Sept 2013; Femara Nov 2013 to ? Blogging at: thebigcandme.blogspot.com/ Dx 12/8/2010, IDC, 3cm, Stage IB, Grade 1, 0/8 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 2/3/2011 Lymph node removal: Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary, Right Surgery 2/3/2011 Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Surgery 2/19/2011 Reconstruction (right) Hormonal Therapy 3/24/2011 Surgery 3/28/2011 Reconstruction (right) Surgery 4/26/2011 Reconstruction (right) Surgery 7/6/2011 Reconstruction (right) Surgery 12/1/2011 Reconstruction (right) Surgery 9/5/2012 Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Hormonal Therapy 11/1/2013 Femara (letrozole)
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Jul 9, 2012 04:41AM SandyJ58 wrote:

Wow, I am blown away reading these comments.  I was diagnosed with IDC 5 days ago and am still in a state of shock.  I eat reasonably well have had four children, breastfed each for a year and absolutely no history of cancer in my family, sorry correction my fathers father had cancer of the larynx and that is is.  I am one of 7, 5 being female.  I was diagnosed with Graves Disease in April 2010 and unfortunately it had gone undiagnosed for far too long.  I had allergic reactions to the medications they gave me and consequently they were unable to bring my thyroid function under control and because I also had the thyroid eye disease they opted to surgically removed my thyroid November 2010.  I had only just started to come right having had a severe tetany attack following the surgery, now this.  Do I have anything to look forward to ladies?  I am scared I have an appointment to see the surgeon on Monday and because I don't know enough I will just go along with whatever he tells me am I right to do that.  Are there any particular things I need to ask? 

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Jul 31, 2014 01:25PM ducky113 wrote:

Same here...just I was diagnosed with IDC BC 3 years ago and was only just diagnosed with Grave's.

Dx 5/2011, IDC, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 1/19 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ Surgery 6/2/2011 Mastectomy: Left, Right; Lymph node removal: Underarm/Axillary, Left; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 7/1/2011 Adriamycin (doxorubicin), Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxol (paclitaxel), Taxotere (docetaxel) Targeted Therapy 8/19/2011 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Radiation Therapy 11/4/2011 Breast, Lymph nodes Hormonal Therapy 3/23/2012 Surgery 8/30/2012 Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Surgery 12/7/2012 Reconstruction (left): Nipple reconstruction; Reconstruction (right): Nipple reconstruction Surgery 2/4/2013 Reconstruction (left): Nipple reconstruction; Reconstruction (right): Nipple reconstruction Hormonal Therapy 4/1/2013 Arimidex (anastrozole) Surgery 4/8/2013 Prophylactic ovary removal Hormonal Therapy 12/17/2013