Thyroid Cancer—It Runs In The Family

Alexandra Cantrell shares her thyroid cancer survival story

“It started a familial witch hunt to find family members who have the gene MEN2A,” says Alexandra Cantrell, who has a genetic condition that causes medullary thyroid cancer. “My dad used to work for Samsung Korea, and they do regular PET scans on the entire body. That’s how they detected his thyroid cancer; his throat lit up. After returning to the U.S. and doing more research, they realized the gene was linked to me and caused a disease that I had as an infant, which meant it was genetic. So now we have dozens of family members who are getting tested. I did an ultrasound and had cancer, so I had my thyroid removed. My sister is getting hers out, preventatively, this summer. All the doctors here made me feel really good about the whole thing. The surgery was pretty in and out. I didn’t really have to do anything. UCLA did everything for me. It was nice.”

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