Dr. Margaret Brandwein-Weber is Chief of Pathology at Mount Sinai West/ Mount Sinai Health System. She carries the responsibility of reporting on all biopsies and resection specimens from the head and neck, and performs intraoperative consultations. A large part of her practice involves thyroid disease, which she has been diagnosing for three decades.
Dr. Brandwein particularly enjoys working with thyroid cancer cases because of their inherent mystery. She explains:
“The histological features of papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC), the most common thyroid cancer, is relatively limited in terms of predictive power when compared to other malignancies like squamous carcinomas or salivary tumors. I enjoy taking on this challenge.”
In her own thyroid-related research, Dr. Brandwein and her colleague Dr. Scott Doyle, from State University of New York at Buffalo, currently use cutting-edge machine learning techniques to predict the behavior of PTC and risk of recurrence. She states:
“Our goal is to better predict which patients will need more aggressive surgery and possible adjuvant treatment. The overarching goal of personalized medicine is to tailor treatment for each individual patient that extends beyond the traditional AJCC TNM staging system and the ATA guidelines.”
When asked what she hopes more thyroid cancer patients would know, she responded:
“I wish that thyroid cancer patients, particularly those with PTC, could put less undue stress and worry on themselves. Thankfully, only a small percentage of PTC patients experience multiple recurrences. Even this outcome can be successfully managed.”
Dr. Brandwein is excited for the future of thyroid care. She believes the pendulum has swung from performing aggressive surgeries to watchful waiting. As scientific data is supportive of this more balanced treatment approach, she believes that active surveillance will gain popularity in the coming years.
30 Stories in 30 Days
September is Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month. As part of that theme, we will post stories written by thyroid cancer survivors, caregivers and medical professionals for our 30 Stories in 30 Days campaign. We hope their perspectives and insight will help others along their journey.