Thyroid Cancer is the most common type of endocrine cancer. Thyroid Cancer occurs in the cells of the thyroid—a butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of the neck, just below the Adam’s apple. The thyroid gland is a part of the endocrine system and the endocrine system produces hormones that regulate the normal functions of the body. Although early Thyroid Cancer has no symptoms but as the cancer progresses, the following symptoms may occurs such as a lump in the throat, cough, hoarseness, pain in the throat and neck, difficulty swallowing and swollen lymph nodes in the neck.
HOW IS THYROID CANCER DIAGNOSED?
Tests and procedures used to diagnose thyroid cancer include:
• Physical exam. Your doctor will look for physical changes in your thyroid and ask about your risk factors, such as excessive exposure to radiation and a family history of thyroid tumors.
• Blood tests. Blood tests help determine if the thyroid gland is functioning normally.
• Removing a sample of thyroid tissue. During a fine-needle biopsy, your doctor inserts a long, thin needle through your skin and into the thyroid nodule. Ultrasound imaging is typically used to precisely guide the needle into the nodule.Your doctor uses the needle to remove samples of suspicious thyroid tissue. The sample is analyzed in the laboratory to look for cancer cells.
• Imaging tests. You may have one or more imaging tests to help your doctor determine whether your cancer has spread beyond the thyroid. Imaging tests may include computerized tomography (CT) scans, positron emission tomography (PET) or ultrasound.
• Genetic testing. Some people with medullary thyroid cancer may have genetic changes that can be associated with other endocrine cancers. Your family history may prompt your doctor to recommend genetic testing to look for genes that increase your risk of cancer.
HOW IS THYROID CANCER TREATED?
Treatment for thyroid cancer depends on the type of thyroid cancer you have and how far it has spread.
The main treatments are:
• a thyroidectomy – surgery to remove part or all of the thyroid
• radioactive iodine treatment – you swallow a radioactive substance that travels through your blood and kills the cancer cells
• external radiotherapy – a machine is used to direct beams of radiation at the cancer cells to kill them
• chemotherapy and targeted therapies – medications used to kill cancer cells
DID YOU KNOW?
People who have been exposed to a lot of radiation have a greater chance of getting thyroid cancer. A dental X-ray now and then will not increase your chance of getting thyroid cancer.