Living Cancer and Scar-Free: How a Transoral Thyroidectomy Gave Cynthia Hope

Cynthia Doyle, CHI St. Luke's transoral thyroidectomy patient

Because of her family history, Cynthia Doyle always knew that she was at a greater risk of thyroid cancer. As one of seven children, she has seen several family members suffer through the disease, including her cousin and mother. After meeting with her physician she was encouraged to get tested and on December 21, 2018, Cynthia was diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer.

With knowledge of her family history of thyroid cancer combined with her work as a pharmaceutical sales representative in the Houston area, Cynthia began to research treatment options. She knew her cancer was treatable with surgery; however she did not want the side effects that her family members experienced in the past.

“I didn’t want any trouble with my voice or the inevitable scar on my throat for the rest of my life,” Cynthia explained. “I just didn’t want that reminder of what I went through or what my destiny may be.”

She began to look into scarless thyroid surgery online and discovered Dr. Raymon Grogan, Section Chief of Endocrine Surgery at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center. Dr. Grogan is one of a very small group of doctors in the United States that currently performs transoral thyroidectomy (also known as TOETVA), a scarless thyroid surgery which allows for the safe and total removal of the thyroid or parathyroid glands without any external scarring to the neck.

After a consultation with Dr. Grogan and undergoing several tests it was determined Cynthia would be a good candidate for the thyroidectomy. Her surgery was scheduled the following week on January 17, 2019 at Baylor St. Luke’s.

Immediately after the two and a half hour surgery, Cynthia had some swelling in her face and neck, a normal side effect of the procedure. She only needed to take prescription strength pain medication for one day after the surgery, and within 5-7 days the swelling had gone away.

“The treatment was superior and the care from my nurses and PCA’s after my surgery was truly heartfelt,” she explained. “They were so kind and went out of their way to make sure I was up and moving around. I am so appreciative of their care.”

After one night in the hospital Cynthia was able to return home to Port Neches, Texas to recover. She recently had her follow-up appointment with both Dr. Grogan and Dr. Ha Nguyen, oncology endocrinologist at Baylor St. Luke’s, and she heard from the pathologist that the cancer was entirely removed with negative surgical margins.  Now, she is feeling grateful for the life changing procedure she underwent at Baylor St. Luke’s.

“No one would ever think that I had such a serious surgery because I don’t have a scar,” Cynthia said. “I am extremely grateful for Dr. Grogan and his amazing team.”