Thyroid disorders and cancer
It occurs in thyroid cancer cells – a butterfly-shaped gland at the base of your neck, just below your Adam’s apple. Your thyroid makes hormones that regulate your heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and weight. Thyroid cancer may not cause any symptoms at first. But as it grows, it causes pain and swelling in the neck.
There are many types of thyroid cancer. Some grow very slowly and others are very aggressive. Most cases of thyroid cancer can be cured with treatment. Thyroid cancer rates appear to be increasing. Some doctors believe this is because new technology allows them to detect small, previously undeveloped thyroid cancers.
Symptoms of thyroid cancer
It’s common for people with thyroid cancer to have fewer or no symptoms. These are often diagnosed by a routine physical exam of the neck. They can also be detected accidentally by X-rays or other imaging scans done for other reasons. People may experience the following symptoms or signs. Sometimes people do not have any of these changes. Or, the symptom may be caused by a different medical condition that is not cancerous.
In front of the neck, a lump near Adam’s apple.
- Swelling of the glands in the neck.
- Difficulty swallowing
- Difficulty breathing
- Throat or neck pain
- The cough persists and is not caused by a cold.
If you are concerned about any changes you may experience, speak with your doctor. Among other things, your doctor may ask how often and how often you experience symptoms. This helps identify the cause of the problem called a diagnosis. Other thyroid problems such as goiter; Or a condition not related to the thyroid, such as an infection.
If cancer is diagnosed, symptom relief is an important part of cancer care and treatment. This is called palliative or supportive care. It often begins after diagnosis and continues throughout treatment. Be sure to talk to your healthcare team about any symptoms you are experiencing, including new symptoms or changes in symptoms.
How common is thyroid cancer?
This is rare cancer accounting for less than 1% of all cancer cases in the UK. Every year approximately 2,700 people in the UK are diagnosed. It is most common in people 35 to 39 years old and in people 70 and older.
Women are 2 to 3 times more likely to develop, than men. It is not clear why, but it may be the result of hormonal changes associated with the female reproductive system.
Who gets it?
This is more common in women than in men. Women have between the ages of 40 and 50, while men who have it are usually between the ages of 60 and 70. Follicular thyroid cancer is more common in whites than blacks and more women than men. You can still get this if you are young. Papillary thyroid cancer, for example, occurs most often in people between the ages of 30 and 50.
Types of thyroid cancer
Thyroid cancer is classified into types based on the cells found in the tumor. Its type is determined when a sample of tissue from your cancer is examined under a microscope. The type of thyroid cancer is considered to determine its treatment and prognosis.
Types of thyroid cancer:
- Papillary thyroid cancer: The most common form of thyroid cancer, papillary thyroid cancer, arises from follicular cells that produce and store thyroid hormones. Papillary thyroid cancer can occur at any age, but most often affects people between the ages of 30 and 50. Doctors sometimes refer to papillary thyroid cancer and follicular thyroid cancer together as thyroid cancer.
- Follicular thyroid cancer: Follicular thyroid cancer also arises from the follicular cells of the thyroid. It usually affects people over 50 years of age. Hartley cell cancer is a rare and more aggressive type of follicular thyroid cancer.
- Anaplastic thyroid cancer: This is a rare thyroid cancer that begins in follicular cells. It grows quickly and is very difficult to treat. Anaplastic thyroid cancer usually occurs in adults 60 years of age or older.
- Medullary thyroid cancer: It begins in thyroid cells called C cells, which make a hormone called calcitonin. Calcitonin levels in the blood indicate medullary at a very early stage. Some genetic syndromes increase the risk of medullary thyroid cancer, although this genetic link is unusual.
- Other rare varieties: Another very rare cancer that begins in the thyroid is thyroid lymphoma, which begins in the cells of the thyroid immune system, and thyroid sarcoma, which begins in the cells of the thyroid connective tissue.
Causes of thyroid cancer
In most cases, the cause is unknown. However, some things increase the chances of developing your condition. The cause is unclear.
It occurs when cells in your thyroid undergo genetic changes (mutations). Mutations allow cells to grow and multiply rapidly. Cells also lose the ability to die, just like normal cells. The abnormal thyroid cells have accumulated from a tumor. The abnormal cells can attack nearby tissues and spread to other parts of the body (metastasize).
Risk factors of thyroid cancer
Factors that increase the risk:
- The female gender is more common in women than in men
- Exposure to high levels of radiation. Radiation therapy treatments to the head and neck increase the risk
Some hereditary genetic syndromes. Genetic syndromes that increase the risk, and include familial medullary thyroid cancer, multiple endocrine neoplasms, Cowden’s syndrome, and familial adenomatous polyposis.
Recurrent thyroid cancer: Despite treatment, even if the thyroid is removed, it will return. This happens when microscopic cancer cells cross the thyroid before being removed.
- Lymph nodes in the neck
- Small pieces of thyroid tissue remain during surgery
- Other areas of the body, such as the lungs and bones.
- Recurrent thyroid cancer can be treated. Your doctor may recommend regular blood tests or thyroid scans to check for recurring signs.
Diagnosis of thyroid cancer
A type of blood test called a thyroid function test measures hormone levels in the blood and can rule out or confirm other thyroid problems. Fine needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) is used if nothing else appears to be causing a thyroid lump. More evidence is needed if the FNAC results are incomplete or if more information is needed to make your treatment more effective.
Treatment for thyroid cancer
Treatment options depend on your type and stage, and your general health, and your preferences. Most of those can be cured with treatment. Treatment may not be needed right away
Very small thyroid cancers that have a low risk of spreading throughout the body do not require immediate treatment. Instead, you can often consider active surveillance with cancer control. Your doctor may recommend blood tests and an ultrasound exam of your neck once or twice a year. In some people, cancer never grows and does not require treatment. In others, the increase can eventually be detected and treatment started.
- Parathyroid glands
- Open the Parathyroid Glands pop-up dialog
Most people have surgery to remove the thyroid. Your doctor may recommend any operations based on the type of thyroid cancer, the size of the cancer, whether the cancer has spread beyond the thyroid, and the results of an ultrasound examination of the entire thyroid gland.
Operations used to treat thyroid cancer:
Remove all or most of the thyroid (thyroidectomy). An operation to remove the thyroid gland involves the removal of thyroid tissue (total thyroidectomy) or thyroid tissue (near the entire thyroidectomy). The surgeon often leaves small borders of thyroid tissue around the parathyroid glands, which can help control calcium levels in the blood.
Removal of a portion of the thyroid (thyroid lobectomy). During a thyroid lobectomy, the surgeon removes half of the thyroid. This may be recommended if you have slow-growing thyroid cancer in one part of the thyroid and there are no suspicious nodules in other areas of the thyroid.
Removal of lymph nodes in the neck (lymph node dissection). By removing the thyroid, the surgeon can also remove nearby lymph nodes in the neck. These can be tested for signs of cancer.
Thyroid surgery can increase the risk of bleeding and infection. Damage to the parathyroid glands can also occur during surgery, which can lead to lower levels of calcium in your body. The nerves connected to the vocal cords may not function normally after surgery, which can lead to laryngeal paralysis, numbness, voice changes, or shortness of breath. Treatment improves or reverses nerve problems.
Thyroid hormone therapy: After a thyroidectomy, you can take the medicine levothyroxine (Levoxyl, Synthroid, others) for life. This action has two benefits: it supplies the missing hormone normally produced by the thyroid, and it suppresses the production of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) from the pituitary gland. High levels of TSH can trigger the growth of the remaining cancer cells.
Radioactive iodine: Radioactive iodine treatment uses large doses of radioactive iodine. Radioactive iodine treatment is often used to destroy healthy thyroid tissue that remains after a thyroidectomy, as well as microscopic areas of thyroid cancer that have not been surgically removed. Radioactive iodine treatment is also helpful, which can come back after treatment or spread to other parts of the body.
Radioactive iodine treatment comes as a capsule or liquid that is swallowed. Radioactive iodine is taken up primarily by thyroid cells so the risk of damaging other cells in your body is low.
Side effects can include:
- Dry mouth
- Oral pain
- Inflammation of the eye
- Altered sense of taste or smell
Most of the radioactive iodine is excreted in the urine during the first days after treatment. You will be told what precautions to take at this time to protect other people from radiation. For example, you may be asked to temporarily avoid close contact with other people, especially children, and pregnant women.
External radiation therapy: Radiation therapy can also be delivered externally to a specific point on your body (external beam radiation therapy) using a machine that targets high-energy rays, such as X-rays and protons. During treatment, you lie on a table while a machine moves around you. External beam radiation therapy may be recommended if surgery is not an option and your cancer is growing after treatment with radioactive iodine. Radiation therapy may also be recommended after surgery if your cancer is at risk of recurrence.
Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is the treatment of cancer by using chemicals to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy is usually given through an IV. The chemicals travel throughout the body and destroy rapidly growing cells, including cancer cells. Chemotherapy is not commonly used, but it is sometimes recommended for people with anaplastic. Chemotherapy can be combined with radiation therapy.
Targeted drug treatment: Targeted drug therapies target specific abnormalities in cancer cells. By preventing these abnormalities, targeted therapeutic therapies can cause cancer cells to die. Drug treatment targets the signals that tell cancer cells to grow and divide. It is commonly used in advanced cancer.
Alcohol injection in cancers: Alcohol ablation is the injection with alcohol to ensure accurate injection placement using ultrasound-like imaging. This procedure reduces thyroid cancer. Alcohol ablation may be an option if your cancer is very small and surgery is not an option. It is sometimes used to treat recurrent cancer of the lymph nodes after surgery.
Supportive (palliative) care: Palliative care is specialized medical care that focuses on relieving pain and other symptoms of a serious illness. Hospice professionals will work with you, your family, and your other doctors to provide additional support to complete your ongoing care. Palliative care can be used when other aggressive treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy are performed. Most of it is offered at the beginning of cancer treatment. When palliative care is used in conjunction with all other appropriate therapies, people with cancer can feel better and live longer.
Palliative care is provided by a team of specially trained doctors, nurses, and other professionals. Palliative care teams aim to improve the standard of living for people with cancer and their families.
Prevention of thyroid cancer
Doctors do not know the cause, so there is no way to prevent, in those with an average risk of developing the disease.
Prevention for high-risk people: Thyroid surgery to prevent cancer (immune thyroidectomy) may be considered in adults and children with a genetic mutation that increases the risk of medullary thyroid cancer. Discuss your options with a genetic counselor who can explain your thyroid cancer risk and your treatment options.
Prevention for people close to nuclear power plants: Sometimes a drug that blocks the effects of radiation on the thyroid is given to people who live near nuclear power plants. Medicines (potassium iodide) can be used in the event of an accident in a nuclear reactor. If you live within 10 miles of a nuclear power plant and are concerned about safety precautions, contact your local or state emergency management department for more information.