Researchers have found a potential risk of thyroid cancer in patients treated with Januvia (sitagliptin), a type-2 diabetes drug. Most types of thyroid cancer are not life-threatening, but surgery is usually necessary in the neck area, and potential complications can be severe.
Januvia (sitagliptin) has been linked to a possible increased risk of developing thyroid cancer. The risk of Januvia thyroid cancer complications varies depending on the type of thyroid cancer. Fortunately, 95% of people who are diagnosed with thyroid cancer have a slow-growing, rarely life-threatening version.
- Anaplastic thyroid cancer: Highly aggressive with a high risk of life-threatening thyroid cancer complications, but it affects less than 1% of people with the disease.
- Papillary thyroid cancer: This slow-growing cancer can usually be cured with surgery to remove the thyroid gland. It affects 86% of people with thyroid cancer.
- Follicular thyroid cancer: This slow-growing, usually curable caner has a low risk of complications and affects 9% of people with the disease.
- Medullary thyroid cancer: Rare, slow-growing thyroid cancer that may be more likely in people with genetic risk of the disease.
Hormone Replacement After Thyroid Cancer
One treatment for thyroid cancer is a thyroidectomy, which is a surgery that removes all or part of the thyroid gland. Individuals without a functioning thyroid gland will need to take thyroid hormone supplements. These supplements help prevent excessive growth of the thyroid gland. They also replace parathyroid hormone, which helps balance calcium levels, and prevent complications like muscle weakness, numbness, muscle cramps, and more.
Thyroid Cancer Surgery Complications
Most people who suffer from Januvia thyroid cancer complications will undergo surgery to remove cancerous tissue. Unfortunately, surgery in the neck area is fraught with risks due to the close proximity of the thyroid gland, larynx (voice box), windpipe, major blood vessels, and nerves. Furthermore, aggressive thyroid cancers can grow deeply into these tissues, which makes surgery very complicated.
Another potential Januvia thyroid cancer complication is voice box paralysis, which occurs when nerves in the neck are damaged. Potential complications include:
- Changes in voice or speaking ability
- Noisy, wheezy breathing
- Hoarseness when talking
- Problems swallowing
- Quiet or “breathy” voice
- May need many breaths while speaking
- And more
Return of Thyroid Cancer After Treatment
Unfortunately, even after treatment is successful and thyroid cancer is in remission, one of the most serious possible Januvia thyroid cancer complications is recurrence of the cancer. Long-term follow-up care should include regular thyroid exams.
If thyroid cancer returns, it often appears in the following areas:
- Lymph nodes (located in the neck)
- Cancerous tissue that was not removed with surgery
- Thyroid tissue that was not cancerous previously
- Other organs (lungs, bones, etc.)