Thyroid cancer is a disease that occurs when there is the growth of abnormal cells in the thyroid gland which is butterfly shaped. Thyroid cancer is often hereditary and it is not very common. Although it is curable, it may come back after a very long time. There are four types of thyroid cancer. The types include papillary/mixed papillary/follicular thyroid cancer, follicular/Hurthle Cell Thyroid cancer, Medullary thyroid cancer and Anaplastic thyroid cancer.
Thyroid Cancer Symptoms
Just like any other disease, thyroid cancer has symptoms. Some of these symptoms may be severe depending on the type of thyroid cancer you have while others may be mild, but should be examined by a doctor immediately. Note that this is not a complete list of all the symptoms of thyroid cancer. Some of the symptoms of thyroid cancer include:
- swelling or a lump in your neck which is the most common symptom
- difficulty swallowing
- difficulty breathing
- hoarseness that is not related to a cold
- continued cough that is not related to a cold
- pain in your neck and sometimes in your ears
Thyroid Cancer Causes
Like any other type of cancer, thyroid cancer too may have its cause. Although currently, the experts have not yet known what the cause of thyroid cancer is, it is clear that most people who have the most common thyroid cancer (papillary thyroid cancer) have typically survived it.
Thyroid cancer may be caused by the DNA changes in your cells which most of the time may be inherited and others that occur as you age.
Thyroid Cancer Diagnosis
Thyroid cancer is curable especially if detected in the early stages. A lump may be noticed in your neck during a routine check-up or during an imaging test which has to be surgically removed to know if you have cancer or not. If it turns out positive, the doctor will need to find out which type of thyroid cancer you have before the commencement of treatment. A biopsy is done to identify the type of thyroid cancer you have and during the process, a small piece of thyroid tissue is removed by the use of a fine needle and examined under a microscope.
The doctor will also need to find out what stage you are in so that they can know how far the cancer has spread.
Thyroid Cancer Treatment
The main aim during the treatment of Thyroid cancer is to completely get rid of all the cancer cells in the body. The process of doing it usually depends on the age of the patient, the type of the thyroid cancer the patient has, the cancer stage and also the general age of the patient.
Most of the thyroid cancer patients undergo surgery to remove the thyroid gland. After the surgery, you may need treatment with radioactive iodine so that any remaining thyroid tissue may be destroyed. You may need Thyroid hormone medicines all your life because their work is to replace the necessary hormones made by thyroid glands to prevent you from having hypothyroidism.
- Radioactive iodine
- Thyroid hormone medicine
- TSH suppression therapy