Thyroid Cancer | What is Thyroid Cancer
Thyroid cancer occurs in the cells of the thyroid gland and it is more common among adult women than men or youth. About 2/3rd of cases occur in people under age 55. There are different kinds of thyroid cancer, depending upon the specific cell type within the thyroid that has become cancerous. Most cases of thyroid cancer have a good prognosis and high survival rates, especially when diagnosed in its early stages.
What Causes Thyroid Cancer?
Thyroid cancer occurs when cells in thyroid undergo genetic changes (mutations). The mutations allow the cells to grow uncontrollably, multiply rapidly and produce lump. The cells also lose the ability to die, as normal cells would. The accumulating abnormal thyroid cells form a tumor. The abnormal cells can invade
Symptoms of Thyroid Cancer | Signs of Thyroid Cancer
Thyroid cancer typically does not cause any signs or symptoms early in the disease. As thyroid cancer grows, it may cause:
- A lump that can be felt through the skin on neck.
- Changes to voice, including increasing hoarseness.
- Difficulty in swallowing.
- Pain in neck and throat.
- Swollen lymph nodes in neck.
nearby tissue and can spread throughout the body. Exact cause of thyroid cancer is not clear but there are a number of things that can increase risk of thyroid cancer includes:
- Other thyroid conditions, such as an inflamed thyroid (thyroiditis) or goitre – but not an overactive thyroid or underactive thyroid.
- A family history of thyroid cancer.
- Radiation exposure in childhood (Radiotherapy).
- A bowel condition called familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP).
- Acromegaly, a rare condition where the body produces too much growth hormone.
Types of Thyroid Cancer
Papillary thyroid cancer: The most common form of thyroid cancer, papillary thyroid cancer arises from follicular cells, which produce and store thyroid hormones. Papillary thyroid cancer can occur at any age, but most often it affects people in age 30 to 50.
Follicular thyroid cancer (Hurthle cell thyroid cancer): Follicular thyroid cancer also arises from the follicular cells of the thyroid. It usually affects people older than age 50. Hürthle cell cancer of the thyroid gland is a rare and potentially more aggressive type of follicular thyroid cancer which accounts for only about 3-10% of all differentiated thyroid cancers.
Medullary thyroid cancer: Medullary thyroid cancer begins in thyroid cells called C cells, which produce the hormone calcitonin. Elevated levels of calcitonin in the blood can indicate medullary thyroid cancer at a very early stage. Certain genetic syndromes increase the risk of medullary thyroid cancer, although this genetic link is uncommon.
Anaplastic thyroid cancer: Anaplastic thyroid cancer is a rare and rapidly growing cancer that is very difficult to treat. Anaplastic thyroid cancer typically occurs in adults (age 60 and older).
Thyroid lymphoma: Thyroid lymphoma is a rare form of thyroid cancer that begins in the immune system cells in the thyroid and grows very quickly. Thyroid lymphoma typically occurs in older adults.
Thyroid Cancer Treatment | Is Thyroid Cancer Curable ?
Yes, thyroid cancer is curable if diagnosed at the earliest stage of cancer and Treatment for thyroid cancer depends on the type of thyroid cancer and how far it has spread. The main treatments are:
Surgery: To remove part or all of the thyroid.
Radioactive iodine treatment: Radioactive iodine (I-131), an isotope of iodine emits radiation. When a small dose of I-131 is swallowed, it is absorbed into the bloodstream in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and concentrated from the blood by the thyroid gland, where it begins destroying the gland’s cells.
External radiotherapy: A machine is used to direct beams of radiation at the cancer cells to kill them.
Chemotherapy and targeted therapies: Medications used to kill cancer cells.
Thyroid Nodules | Thyroid Nodules Symptoms
Nodules are lumps or abnormal masses within the thyroid. Nodules can be caused by benign cysts, benign tumors, or, less commonly, by cancers of the thyroid (most nodules are not cancerous). Nodules may be single or multiple and can vary in size. If nodules are excessively large, they may causes symptoms related to compression of nearby structures.
Some thyroid nodules may produce too much thyroid hormone and cause hyperthyroidism, or become too large, interfering with breathing or swallowing or causing neck discomfort.