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thyroid-cancer

Thyroid Cancer

The thyroid produces essential hormones that regulate heart rate, blood temperature and weight. Thyroid cancer occurs when malignant cells start to form up in the tissues of the thyroid gland. While some thyroid cancer grows slowly, others can grow aggressively. All known types of thyroid cancer are:

  • Papillary thyroid cancer begins in follicular cells, which produce and store hormones. It’s the most common type of thyroid cancer but usually affects people between the ages of 30 to 50. However, it spread slowly and can also be treated easily.
  • Medullary thyroid cancer begins in the C cells that produce calcitonin hormone. It can be caused by endocrine gland cancers or genetic syndromes.
  • Follicular thyroid cancer begins in the follicular cells but spread faster than papillary thyroid cancer.
  • Anaplastic thyroid cancer is a rare type of thyroid cancer, which occurs in people over 60 and is harder to treat.
  • Thyroid lymphoma occurs in the connective tissues or immune system cells of the thyroid gland.

Symptoms:

In most types of thyroid cancer, symptoms won’t appear until the cells become malignant. However, various symptoms might indicate the advancement of thyroid cancer, which include:

  • Lump in the neck or around the Adam’s apple
  • Change in voice
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Recurring pain in the neck or throat
  • Swelling in lymph nodes

If one experiences any of these symptoms, they should make an appointment with our doctor.

Causes:

The cause of thyroid cancer is a mutation that allows the thyroid cells to grow rapidly and form a tumour. In some cases, it can also be caused by genetic syndromes, iodine deficiency and radiation exposure.

Risk factors:

Several factors can increase the risk of thyroid cancer, which include:

  • Gender as it occurs more often in women
  • Family history of cancer
  • Ageing as people over 50 are more prone to thyroid cancer
  • Genetic syndromes, such as endocrine neoplastic syndrome and Cowden’s syndrome.

Diagnosis:

Our doctor will evaluate the patient’s symptoms and medical history. They will also perform to diagnose cancer or to rule out other conditions. These tests will include:

  • Physical exam to check for lump or abnormalities in the neck area.
  • Blood tests to check the thyroid gland functions and hormone levels.
  • Thyroglobulin test
  • Laryngoscopy to check for a tumour on the vocal cords.
  • Imaging tests, such as ultrasound, CT scan or MRI to check for tumour and how far it has spread
  • Fine-needle aspiration biopsy to remove a tissue sample from the thyroid gland and check it for cancerous cells.

Treatment:

In some cases, cancer doesn’t grow and never require treatment. But in the majority of the cases, treatment is required right away. Based on the diagnosis, possible complications and the patient’s preference, our doctors will recommend the most-effective treatment option for thyroid cancer. It can include:

Chemotherapy:

In chemotherapy, our doctors will use a group of drugs to stop cancer from spreading. Cancer cells absorb the drugs faster than normal cells, thus slowing their growth. These drugs can be delivered through a vein or a catheter, depending on the stage of cancer.

Radiation therapy:

Our surgeon will use controlled radiation to damage or destroy the DNA of cancer cells. Our radiation oncologist will use a machine to direct the energy beams on the cancer cells. It can be used in combination with chemotherapy if surgery isn’t an option.

Radioactive iodine:

Our doctors will administer large doses of radioactive iodine to destroy cancer tissues without harming healthy tissues.

Surgery:

It’s the most-effective treatment for thyroid cancer, which involves removing cancer surgically along with the surrounding tissues. These surgeries can include:

  • Thyroidectomy to remove entire or part of the thyroid gland along with cancer.
  • Lobectomy to remove half of the thyroid along with cancer that hasn’t spread to the other parts.
  • Lymph node dissection to remove the lymph nodes in the neck along with cancer.

Thyroid hormone therapy:

Our doctor will remove certain hormones and stops cancer cells from growing. The treatment can also be recommended after the surgery to make up for the missing thyroid gland. It supplies the hormones that the thyroid would produce and also prevent cancer from relapsing or recurring.

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