Individuals who take Januvia (sitagliptin) may have an increased risk of developing thyroid cancer, but the risk is still being investigated. Fortunately, the potential risk of Januvia thyroid cancer complications is low, because most thyroid cancers are slow-growing and can be removed with surgery.
Januvia Thyroid Cancer Complications
Januvia (sitagliptin) has been linked to two cases of thyroid cancer, according to a 2011 study published in Gastroenterology. Fortunately, there is a very low risk of life-threatening Januvia thyroid cancer complications. More than 95% of people who are diagnosed with thyroid cancer have one of the following slow-growing forms of the disease:
- Papillary thyroid cancer
- Follicular thyroid cancer
- Medullary thyroid cancer
Less than 1% of people who are diagnosed with thyroid cancer have the most aggressive form of the disease — anaplastic thyroid cancer — which is highly likely to cause serious complications. Anaplastic thyroid cancer grows rapidly into tissues in the neck, and it can be nearly impossible to remove without causing complications.
Thyroid Cancer Surgery Complications
Thyroidectomy (surgical removal of the thyroid gland) is the most likely treatment option for people who suffer from Januvia thyroid cancer complications. In most cases, thyroid cancer is diagnosed and removed before it spreads to other tissues (metastasizes). Neck surgery to remove thyroid cancer carries a high risk of complications, because the thyroid gland is located close to the larynx (voice box), windpipe, blood vessels, and nerves.
Voice box paralysis can occur when nerves in the neck are damaged during surgery to treat Januvia thyroid cancer. Complications may 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
Hormone Replacement After Thyroid Cancer
After a thyroidectomy, the patient is at risk of serious complications involving metabolism and blood chemistry. Normally, the thyroid gland regulates the body’s metabolism and the amount of calcium in the bloodstream. Thyroid hormone supplements are used to minimize the risk of complications, prevent the thyroid gland from growing excessively, replace parathyroid hormone, and balance calcium levels.