Thyroid Cancer

The thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland at the base of the throat, near the windpipe. It produces hormones that help control heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature and weight.

 

What is Thyroid Cancer?

Thyroid cancer is a rare type of cancer that affects the thyroid gland, a small gland at the base of the neck that produces hormones. It's most common in people in their 30s and those over the age of 60. Women are two to three times more likely to develop it than men. Thyroid cancer is usually treatable and in many cases can be cured completely, although it can sometimes come back after treatment.

 

Thyroid cancer symptoms can include:

  • a painless lump or swelling in the front of the neck – although only 1 in 20 neck lumps are symptoms of thyroid cancer
  • swollen glands in the neck
  • unexplained hoarseness that doesn't get better after a few weeks
  • a sore throat that doesn't get better
  • difficulty swallowing

 

There are four main types of thyroid cancer:

  • papillary carcinoma – the most common type, accounting for about 8 in 10 cases; it usually affects people under 40, particularly women
  • follicular carcinoma – accounts for up to 1 in 10 cases and tends to affect middle-aged adults, particularly women
  • medullary thyroid carcinoma – accounts for less than 1 in 10 cases; unlike the other types, it can run in families
  • anaplastic thyroid carcinoma – the rarest and most serious type, accounting for around 1 in 50 cases; it usually affects people over the age of 60
  • Papillary and follicular carcinomas are sometimes known as differentiated thyroid cancers. They tend to be easier to treat than the other types.

 

Causes of thyroid cancer

  • Thyroid cancer occurs when a change to the DNA in the cells in the thyroid causes them to grow uncontrollably and produce a lump.
  • Thyroid conditions, such as an inflamed thyroid (thyroiditis) or goitre – but not an overactive thyroid or underactive thyroid
  • A family history of thyroid cancer – your risk is higher if a close relative has had thyroid cancer
  • Radiation exposure in childhood – such as radiotherapy
  • obesity
  • acromegaly – a rare condition where the body produces too much growth hormone

 

Diagnosis of thyroid cancer in India:

  • Biopsy: Cells from the suspicious area are removed and looked under the microscope. Usually, this test is done after blood tests and ultrasound.
  • Imaging test: This is usually done to help find suspicious areas that might be cancerous, to learn how far cancer has spread and to help determine if the treatment is working or not.
  • Ultrasound: This test helps conclude if a thyroid nodule is solid or filled with fluid (solid nodules are likely to be cancerous.) It can also be used to confirm the number and size of the thyroid nodules.
  • Chest X-ray: Helps find out if the cancer has spread to the lungs or not.

 

Treatments for thyroid cancer:

Treatment for thyroid cancer in India depends on the type of thyroid cancer you have and how far it has spread. Thyroid cancer treatment in India  is available for all types of cancer and can be used in conjunction with other traditional therapies like Chemotherapy and Radiation Therapy overcoming there side effects like hair loss, damage to normal cells, bone loss etc.

 

The main treatments are:

  • Thyroid Surgery - The thyroid tumor is staged in order to develop the most effective treatment plan. The two types of surgeries which can be performed are Hemi thyroidectomy and Total thyroidectomy.
  • radioactive iodine treatment- Radioactive Iodine-131 is used in patients with papillary or follicular thyroid cancer for ablation of residual thyroid tissue after surgery and for the treatment of thyroid cancer
  • external radiotherapy
  • chemotherapy and targeted therapies – medications used to kill cancer cells

 

An integrated approach with a multidisciplinary team of Onco Surgeons, Radiation Oncologists & Medical Oncologists exponentially increases the chances of a positive outcome for treatment of thyroid cancer in India

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