Thyroid cancer treatment has become more efficient due to recent improvements in technology. Additionally, the chance of developing thyroid cancer has recently elevated and is now the most rapidly increasing cancer in America in the past thirty years. However, we must recognize that the increase in diagnosed cases is not necessarily a negative thing but are primarily due to the improvement of the process of thyroid ultrasound. Today, even the smallest nodules can now be detected by health professionals which means thyroid cancer can now be diagnosed earlier on.
Understanding Thyroid Cancer Treatment and Symptoms
Chemotherapy for Thyroid Cancer
Thyroid cells are unique among all the other cells that can be found in the human body due to their ability to absorb iodine. It is this chemical that the thyroid cells utilize to produce thyroid hormone. The ability to absorb iodine is often not impaired upon developing cancerous thyroid cells.
Given this, doctors usually use radioactive iodine therapy in chemotherapy. The radioactive iodine thus will act as a poison for all thyroid cells. Of all the chemotherapy strategies, this is the only one that would not damage any cells beyond the affected area given these other cells do not possess the ability to absorb iodine.
Thyroid Cancer Treatment
In thyroid cancer treatment, doctors often opt to remove the thyroid gland. At times, this occurs immediately following the biopsy or even during the same biopsy operation. Whether or not your doctor will remove the lymph nodes in your neck depends on the case at hand. However, if he or she is handling a case of anaplastic thyroid cancer, the doctor would likely present the option of a tracheostomy.
The patient is subject to radioactive iodine treatment 4 to 6 weeks after the thyroidectomy operation. Following this treatment, the patient would have to begin taking a thyroid hormone pill. It is this part of the treatment that would span for the rest of your life. Given your long-term condition, it is advisable to regularly pay a visit to your endocrinologist every 6 to 12 months to keep track of your dosage.
Thyroid Cancer Symptoms
Hypothyroidism may be just one of the reasons behind this abnormality in the voice. https://t.co/ke4dqhmy0J
— Thyroid Symptoms (@ThyroidSymptms) August 27, 2017
Doctors often detect thyroid cancer using palpation during routine physical examinations. Often, thyroid cancer does not cause many grave symptoms. The following are just some of the signs and symptoms usually associated with thyroid cancer:
- Hoarse voice
- Neck pain
- Enlarged lymph nodes
As much as 75% of the population will develop thyroid nodules. It is important to note that most of these nodules are benign.
Thyroid Cancer Types
There are 4 different types of thyroid cancer. The following are the different types of cancer alongside their incidence rates:
- Papillary and mixed papillary/follicular thyroid cancer – 80%
- Follicular and Hurthle Cell Thyroid Cancer – 15%
- Medullary Thyroid Cancer – 3%
- Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer – 2%
Thyroid Cancer Diagnosis
If you begin experiencing any or all of the symptoms we have listed above, your physician may want to order a biopsy of your thyroid gland to check for cancer cells. There are times wherein the results of a biopsy are unclear. If this occurs, surgery may be necessary for the removal of all or part of your thyroid gland.
Thyroid Cancer Prognosis
Most thyroid cancers are relatively more comfortable to cure. The most common types, papillary and follicular thyroid cancers, are most accessible to treat. Often, the treatment process of thyroid cancer involves the partial or complete removal of the thyroid gland. Of all the types of thyroid cancer, it is medullary thyroid cancer that is not as common and is more difficult to deal with.
For more information about thyroid cancer, watch this video by Manipal Hospitals
Thyroid cancer treatment is quick and easy when compared to that of other cancers. However, thyroid cancer is not exactly the easiest to detect due to how subtle the symptoms are. Given this, it is always good to be proactive regarding our health and pay regular visits to our physicians. If you begin to feel any discomfort in your neck area or if you have any problems with breathing or swallowing, schedule an appointment with your doctor.
If you have any experience dealing with thyroid cancer, please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below!