Thyroid cancer is a cancer of the thyroid gland, located in the Adam’s apple (larynx, voice box) in front of the neck. The thyroid gland is located in the front of the neck and produces hormones that control metabolism. The three hormones secreted by the thyroid gland are Thyroxine (T4),Tri-idothyronine (T3),Calcitonin. The thyroid gland uses iodine (found in foods or mineral supplements) for T4 and T3.Thyroid cancer occurs when the thyroid gland cells grow and divide in a disorderly manner. Learn more about Thyroid cancer symptoms and treatment in this section.
Thyroid Cancer Symptoms and Treatment:
Symptoms of thyroid cancer
Thyroid cancer develops slowly, without much obvious symptoms in the early stages. The most common symptom of thyroid cancer is usually a painless lump or swelling in the neck or throat. This tumor can grow large and press on the trachea or esophagus, causing difficulty in breathing or swallowing. If the tumor is located in the thyroid gland then it is called a knot.
One may also experience hoarseness, or swollen lymph nodes in the neck. About 90% of cases reported can be a symptom of a goitre or another disease that affects the head or neck.
If one has any one of the signs or symptoms of thyroid cancer or falls in the risk categories for thyroid cancer it is advisable to have regular checks done by you doctor.
Treatment for thyroid cancer
There are many ways to treat thyroid cancer. Many factors, including age, general health, and severity of cancer, must be considered when determining a treatment plan.
Surgery: Surgery is the most common treatment for all cancers of the thyroid gland.
- Total thyroidectomy “In this technique, the surgeon removes the entire thyroid gland and diseased tissue in the vicinity. Thyroid hormone is necessary for this procedure.
- Lobectomy: This procedure is used most often in patients with follicular or papillary cancer of the thyroid gland. A lobectomy is the removal of a part of the thyroid gland that is affected by thyroid cancer.
Radio iodine therapy is also known as 1-131, and works best in patients with papillary thyroid cancer or follicular thyroid cancer. Radioactive iodine is used to destroy any remaining thyroid cancer tissue after surgery and to treat cancer of the thyroid gland that has spread to lymph nodes and other body parts. It is performed by having the patient swallow capsules or small amounts of liquid radioactive iodine that kills cancer cells.
External Radiation therapy :
External radiation therapy targets the tumor site with radiation. The high energy waves of the machine reduces tumor.
Chemotherapy is the use of medications and chemicals to kill cancer cells. These medications can be delivered orally, in pill form or intravenously. In chemotherapy, combination of drugs tends to be more effective than a single type of medicine itself. Usually the patient will receive treatment every day for several weeks. This cycle can continue until your doctor determines that the cancer has stopped spreading, or the tumor begins to shrink.
Side effects of Thyroid Cancer Treatment
Surgery: Discomfort and pain in the first weeks after surgery, In addition, the anesthesia used during surgery leave a patient feeling tired for several days. Often, doctors prescribe drugs to treat pain associated with surgery. In rare cases, thyroid surgery, leaving patients with speech problems .
Radioactive iodine therapy:
This may include temporary loss or impaired sense of taste and smell and dry mouth.
Eternal radiation therapy :
Patients also tend to have redness or swelling at the site of radiation, usually in the neck.
A patient may experience chemotherapy side effects such as ulcers in the mouth, digestive problems, such as loss of appetite or nausea and vomiting. Patients also tend to experience hair loss after chemotherapy.