The thyroid gland is a part of the endocrine system and it is a small butterfly-shaped structure. The thyroid gland generates several hormones required for metabolism, maintaining heart rate, body temperature, etc. When the changes or mutations of cells occur in the thyroid, it can lead to thyroid cancer.
Thyroid cancer is very rare. However, if it is detected at early stages, it can be treated more easily than other types of cancer.
Different Types of Thyroid Cancer
There are different types of thyroid cancers and most of them can be cured with proper treatment. The following are the different types of thyroid cancer:
- Papillary thyroid cancer: It is the most common type of thyroid cancer and it occurs in the follicular cells. This cancer usually grows very slowly, but can spread to lymph nodes. When seen under a microscope, this tumour appears like a normal thyroid tissue. It is most commonly seen in people under the age of 40.
- Follicular thyroid cancer: It affects old age people and is the second most common type of thyroid cancer. It also occurs from the follicular cells and grows slowly. People who follow a diet that is less in iodine can get affected by this type of cancer. Papillary and follicular are the most common types of thyroid cancer. They can be treated effectively if detected at early stages.
- Medullary thyroid cancer (MTC): It is developed in the C cells of the thyroid glands that produce calcium regulating hormone. MTC can be treated if it is diagnosed at early stages before it got spread to other organs.
- Anaplastic thyroid cancer: It is a rare type but spread very fast than other types. The cells do not look like normal cells of the thyroid glands. It is seen in older adults above the age of 60. Treating this type of thyroid cancer is difficult as it spreads fast. Anaplastic thyroid cancer is considered as the fourth stage of cancer.
Common Signs of Thyroid Cancer
The most common sign of thyroid cancer is a lump or swelling in the neck known as a thyroid nodule. All thyroid nodules may not be cancerous and you do not get panic if you have one. Other common signs include:
- Difficulty while breathing or swallowing
- A lump in the neck or throat
- Unexplained hoarseness (loss of voice)
- Sore throat
- Pain in the neck
- Change in voice
- A persistent cough
If you ever experience any of these signs or symptoms, consider visiting a doctor to prevent the further progression of the disease.
What Causes Thyroid Cancer?
When the thyroid cells develop changes in their DNA, it can lead to thyroid cancer. The rapid mutations let the cells grow rapidly and form a tumour. These cells live even if the healthy cells die. This tumour can even spread to lymph nodes and sometimes to lungs, bones, etc.
The exact reason for why some of the cells become cancerous and affect the thyroid gland and makes changes in DNS is unknown. However, there are certain factors that can increase the chances of thyroid cancer such as:
- Exposure to radiation
- Iodine deficiency
- Inherited genetic syndrome
How is Thyroid Cancer Diagnosed?
There are different tests that can be used for diagnosing thyroid cancer. The doctor will first examine your neck to look for any swelling or any mass in the thyroid. If the doctor identifies any, the following tests might be used:
- Core biopsy: It collects a few thyroid cells to test for cancer and this helps to know the type of cancer you have.
- Thyroid function test: It measures the thyroid hormone levels in the body.
- Thyroid ultrasound: Ultrasound examines the thyroid gland and shows images of the thyroid gland. It helps to identify if cancer has spread to other regions.
- CT and MRI scan: These scans generate more clear images and help to have a clear view of the thyroid cancer where it has spread.
- Thyroid scan: It checks the functioning of the thyroid gland using a little amount of iodine.
Different Treatment Options for Thyroid Cancer
The treatment for thyroid cancer is based on the size of the tumour, type, the stage of cancer, and whether it has spread to other parts of the body. The treatment options include the following:
- The doctor performs surgery to remove a portion of the thyroid gland that got affected
- Use of pill or liquid containing radioactive iodine that can destroy affected thyroid glands. This is known as radioiodine therapy
- Radiation therapy can kill the cancer cells using radiation and prevents the growth of cancer cells
- Chemotherapy can also be performed to fight against cancer cells by injecting a drug into the vein
- Hormone therapy focuses on blocking the release of hormones that can lead to cancer
Looking for The Best Thyroid Cancer Treatment? Meet Our Doctors at Klavo Clinics
Klavo Clinics & Diagnostics provides international standards of healthcare, with advanced diagnostic & treatment facilities in Hyderabad. We have experienced doctors who specialize in treating thyroid cancer and other types of cancer. We first determine the type of cancer you have and suggest a suitable treatment solution. To discuss your condition, book an appointment with us today.