In the cells of the thyroid, a butterfly-shaped gland at the base of your spine, just below your Adam’s apple, thyroid cancer develops. Hormones that control your heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature and weight are released by your thyroid.
Thyroid cancer might not initially cause any symptoms. But it can cause pain and swelling in your neck as it develops. Multiple forms of thyroid cancer occur. Some are increasing very slowly and some may be very aggressive. With treatment, most forms of thyroid cancer may be cured.
It seems that thyroid cancer rates are rising. Some physicians claim that this is because modern technology helps them to detect tiny cancers of the thyroid that could not have been detected in the past.
Usually, thyroid cancer doesn’t cause any signs or symptoms early in the illness. As cancer of the thyroid develops, it can cause:
Based on the kinds of cells present in the tumor, thyroid cancer is categorized into forms. When a sample of tissue from your cancer is studied under a microscope, your form is determined. In deciding the condition and prognosis, the type of thyroid cancer is considered.
Types of thyroid cancer include:
Factors that may increase the risk of thyroid cancer include:
Tests and procedures used to diagnose thyroid cancer include:
There are no clear risk factors for most people with thyroid cancer, but most cases of this disease can not be avoided. It is possible to conduct genetic testing to search for gene mutations in hereditary medullary thyroid cancer (MTC). Because of this, by removing the thyroid gland, most familial cases of MTC can be avoided or handled early. The rest of the family members can be screened for the mutated gene until the disorder is discovered in a family.
To extract the thyroid, most individuals with thyroid cancer undergo surgery. Depending on the type of thyroid cancer, the size of the cancer, if the cancer has spread beyond the thyroid and the results of an ultrasound scan of the entire thyroid gland, what surgery your doctor might prescribe.
Operations used for thyroid cancer care include:
Surgery on the thyroid carries a risk of bleeding and infection. During surgery, damage to your parathyroid glands can also occur, which can lead to low calcium levels in your body.
There is also a possibility that after surgery, the nerves attached to the vocal cords can not function normally, which may cause paralysis of the vocal cord, hoarseness, changes in speech or breathing difficulties. Treatment can boost nerve problems or reverse them.
You can take the thyroid hormone drug levothyroxine (Levoxyl, Synthroid, others for life after a thyroidectomy.
This drug has two advantages: it provides the missing hormone that your thyroid will normally generate and suppresses your pituitary gland’s production of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). Conceivably, high TSH levels could encourage any remaining cancer cells to expand.
Therapy with radioactive iodine requires massive doses of a radioactive source of iodine.
In order to kill any residual healthy thyroid tissue, as well as microscopic areas of thyroid cancer that were not removed during surgery, radioactive iodine therapy is also used after thyroidectomy. Thyroid cancer returning after treatment or spreading to other parts of the body can also be treated with radioactive iodine treatment.
Treatment with radioactive iodine comes as a capsule or liquid you swallow. Thyroid cells and thyroid cancer cells mainly take up radioactive iodine, but there is a low chance of other cells in the body being harmed.
Side effects may include:
In the first few days after treatment, the bulk of the radioactive iodine exits your body in your urine. To protect other people from the radiation, you will be given instructions for precautions that you need to take during that time. You might be asked, for example, to temporarily avoid close contact with other individuals, especially kids and pregnant women.
Radiation therapy can also be done externally using a system that focuses high-energy beams at specific points on the body, such as X-rays and protons (external beam radiation therapy). You lie still on a table during treatment while a computer works around you.
If surgery isn’t an option and the cancer continues to develop after radioactive iodine treatment, external beam radiation therapy may be recommended. If there’s an elevated chance that the cancer will recur, radiation therapy can also be prescribed after surgery.
Chemotherapy is a drug treatment that destroys cancer cells using chemicals. Usually, chemotherapy is given through a vein as an infusion. The chemicals move throughout your body, killing cells, including cancer cells, that develop rapidly.
In the treatment of thyroid cancer, chemotherapy is not widely used, although it is often prescribed for people with anaplastic thyroid cancer. It may be necessary to combine chemotherapy with radiation therapy.
Targeted drug therapies concentrate on particular mutations within cancer cells that are present. Targeted drug therapies can cause cancer cells to die by blocking these abnormalities.
Targeted thyroid cancer drug therapy addresses the signals that tell cancer cells to grow and divide. Typically, it’s used for advanced thyroid cancer.
To ensure correct positioning of the injection, alcohol ablation involves injecting small thyroid cancers with alcohol using imaging such as ultrasound. This treatment causes cancers of the thyroid to shrink. If your cancer is very small, and surgery is not an option, alcohol ablation may be an option. It is often often used following surgery to treat cancer that reoccurs in the lymph nodes.