Symptoms and Causes of Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer | Endocrinology

Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer

What is anaplastic thyroid cancer?

Anaplastic thyroid cancer usually features a very poor prognosis thanks to its aggressive behavior and resistance to cancer treatments. These cancer cells are very abnormal and usually don’t appear as if actual thyroid cells and are less differentiated.

Anaplastic thyroid cancer is an abnormal sort of thyroid cancer that causes only 1-2% of cases, but thanks to high mortality, it causes 20-50% of thyroid cancer deaths. The median survival time after diagnosis is 3 to 6 months. Some studies report that between 10% and 15% live quite 1 year, survival at 3 and 5 years is extremely rare. it’s more common in women than men and is more common in people ages 40 to 70.

Carcinoma is also known as “anaplastic thyroid carcinoma” because it refers to a specific type of cancer. Since thyroid cancer is so common, you may know someone who has or has had thyroid cancer. However, anaplastic thyroid cancer is very rare thyroid cancer. Many thyroid patients and specialists have no experience with this rare type of thyroid cancer. Try not to think of anaplastic thyroid cancer the way you do other thyroid cancers because this decision may not be justifiable or may not make the right decisions for you.

Anaplastic thyroid cancer begins to grow within the thyroid gland or grows rapidly from normal thyroid tissue if there is no lump (nodule) in the thyroid. Anaplastic thyroid cancer grows very fast and spreads very quickly. Patients with thyroid cancer rarely have symptoms, but anaplastic thyroid cancer is an exception to this observation, and many patients have symptoms. Patients with anaplastic thyroid cancer tend to have a rapidly growing neck mass.

Patients often present with numbness (vocal cord paralysis), difficulty swallowing, or even movement of the mass in the neck. Unlike other common thyroid cancers, this highly aggressive thyroid cancer requires a great deal of rapid evaluation and treatment to be successfully managed.

Symptoms & sign of anaplastic thyroid cancer

Most people with thyroid cancer have no symptoms. Alternatively, these cancers can be detected by routine care or by a family doctor during a routine neck exam or by imaging for other purposes (eg, CT of the neck or carotid ultrasound).

If there are symptoms, the most common is a new enlargement or inflammation of the thyroid called a thyroid nodule. A fine-needle aspiration biopsy is often used to determine if the thyroid nodule is malignant (cancerous) or benign. (Non-cancerous), some symptoms and signs increase the doctor’s suspicion that the nodule is malignant.

These characteristics and signals are:

  • The rapid growth of the nodule in a short period of time.
  • A nodule that is “stuck” or firmly attached to the surrounding tissue
  • Nodule-like lymphadenopathy in the neck
  • Rare features

Besides the presence of a thyroid nodule, other potential symptoms of thyroid cancer (although they are not common):

  • Pain in the front of the neck (where the thyroid gland is located) may “move” or radiate to the jaw or ears.
  • Continuous “tickle in the throat”
  • Swallowing problems if the thyroid nodule is too large and presses on the esophagus (the tube that connects the throat to the stomach)
  • Trouble breathing if the nodule is too large and presses on the windshield
  • Persistent cough without other cold symptoms
  • Forceful regulates the vocal cords when cancer enters the nerves

With medullary thyroid cancer, which accounts for only 1% to 2% of all thyroid cancers, a person may experience symptoms such as diarrhea, itching, and redness (if cancer has spread throughout the body).

These symptoms are caused by the production of calcitonin, a hormone produced by thyroid “C” cells. Medullary thyroid cancer begins from these “C” cells, unlike other types of thyroid cancer that arise from follicular thyroid cells (cells that make thyroid hormone).

Causes of anaplastic thyroid cancer

Researchers are not sure of the exact cause of anaplastic thyroid cancer. It may be a mutation in another less aggressive form of thyroid cancer. Although no one knows why these mutations occur, they can be the result of a series of genetic mutations. However, it does not appear to be hereditary.

Some things increase the risk of anaplastic thyroid cancer, including:

  • People aged 60 and over
  • Have goiter
  • Previous radiation exposure to the chest or neck

Risk factors of anaplastic thyroid cancer

Most people with thyroid cancer have no symptoms. Alternatively, these cancers can be detected by routine care or by a neck exam by a regular doctor, or by imaging for other purposes (eg, CT scan or carotid ultrasound of the neck).

If there are symptoms, a new enlargement or inflammation of the thyroid is called the more common thyroid nodule. A fine-needle aspiration biopsy is often used to determine whether the thyroid nodule is malignant (cancerous) or benign. (Non-cancerous), some symptoms and signs increase the doctor’s suspicion that the nodule is malignant.

These characteristics and signals are:

  • The rapid growth of the nodule in a short period of time
  • A nodule that is “stuck” or firmly attached to the surrounding tissue
  • Nodule-like lymphadenopathy in the neck
  • Rare features

In addition to the presence of a thyroid nodule, other potential symptoms of thyroid cancer (although they are not common) include:

  • Pain in the front of the neck (where the thyroid gland is located) may “move” or radiate to the jaw or ears
  • Continuous “tickle in the throat”
  • Swallowing problems if the thyroid nodule is too large and presses on the esophagus
  • The nodule is too large and you will have trouble breathing if you press on the windshield
  • Persistent cough without other cold symptoms
  • By force, it controls the vocal cords when cancer enters the nerves

With medullary thyroid cancer, which accounts for only 1% to 2% of all thyroid cancers, a person may experience symptoms such as diarrhea, itching, and redness (if cancer has spread throughout the body).

These symptoms are caused by the production of a hormone called calcitonin, which is produced by thyroid “C” cells. Medullary thyroid cancer begins from these “C” cells, unlike other types of thyroid cancer that arise from follicular thyroid cells (cells that make thyroid hormone).

Diagnosis of anaplastic thyroid cancer

Patients with a history of rapidly increasing neck mass with or without compressive symptoms should be immediately evaluated for anaplastic thyroid cancer. Other forms of thyroid cancer (especially medullary thyroid cancer) and thyroid lymphoma can be similar to anaplastic thyroid cancer. A fine-needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB) can often differentiate between anaplastic thyroid cancer and another cause, but sometimes requires a core needle biopsy (that is, a biopsy with a large needle) or a surgical biopsy.

Once anaplastic thyroid cancer is diagnosed, it is important to look at how widespread the disease is. A CT scan of the neck and chest shows how big the tumor is, whether it invades nearby structures (muscles, trachea, or esophagus), and whether the disease has spread to other parts of the body. Flexible laryngoscopy (endoscope inserted under the throat) determines if the vocal cords are cancerous.

Treatment for anaplastic thyroid cancer

The following are treatment options for anaplastic thyroid carcinoma. Your healthcare team will prescribe treatments based on your needs and preferences. Anaplastic carcinoma often develops when it is diagnosed. This means that not all cancers can be completely removed or destroyed.

Radiotherapy: External beam radiation therapy is given to the thyroid and neck to slow and control the growth of cancer. It is sometimes given at the same time as chemotherapy.

The standard radiation program delivers radiation once a day. Small doses of radiation therapy can be given 2 times a day. This is called hyperfraction. A standard radiation program can be used if there are many side effects of hyperfunction.

Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is usually given for anaplastic carcinoma. It can be given alone or with radiation therapy as part of chemotherapy. The most commonly used chemotherapy combination is doxorubicin (adriamycin) and cisplatin (platinol AQ). Sometimes doxorubicin is used alone. In some cases, paclitaxel (Toxol) or Docetaxel (Toxotere) may also be used.

Surgery: Surgery for anaplastic carcinoma is rarely offered. This cancer often develops when it is diagnosed and usually cannot be removed surgically (it is undetectable). But in some cases, surgery can be done before or after other treatments. The type of surgery depends on the stage of cancer, the size of the tumor, and whether cancer has grown or spread to any structure and organ.

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