After researching her options, Bostock made an appointment with Duke’s Sanziana Roman, MD. “The moment I met her, I knew she would help me through this,” Bostock said. “She was very thorough. She was easy to communicate with. She answered all my questions.”
Roman is an endocrine surgeon specializing in thyroid diseases who has treated more than a thousand thyroid cancer patients. “It really is a matter of experience,” Roman said. “Patients can present in different ways with different types of diseases of the thyroid gland. Understanding the biology of each of them is very important in assuring patients get the right care.”
Roman ordered neck mapping, an ultrasound exam of the lymph nodes in Bostock’s neck to determine if—and where—the cancer might have spread. The suspicious lymph nodes were biopsied, too. Results showed the cancer had spread from Bostock’s thyroid into her lymph nodes.
“A thorough evaluation of the extent of the thyroid cancer before surgery is paramount,” said Roman, who added that it’s the most important step in treating thyroid cancer. “Knowing how extensive the cancer is and how much of the thyroid needs to be removed allows patients to get neither too little nor too much surgery,” she said. While this approach is routine at Duke, it’s not the case everywhere. “I see a lot of patients who have had surgeries which are not comprehensive, and then risky repeat surgeries need to be done,” Roman said.
In September 2014, Bostock underwent extensive surgery during which Roman removed her thyroid and more than 50 lymph nodes; 36 of them contained cancer. “She saved my life,” Bostock said of Roman.