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Thyroid Cancer

Adrian didn’t know something wasn’t right and this sounds typical. His symptoms were perfectly related to poor nutrition. It never occurred to him that he’ll take treatment for thyroid cancer.

And back then, his kid was going through the new baby phase, he had tiredness, increase in weight, foggy brain, and reduced concentration

It was just the moment in his lifetime when these things happened during new parenting moments. 

That’s how he missed it. he hasn’t experienced these symptoms which made him think,

“Oh my God, something is not right,” 

He was in that phase for a while. One day, as always, he was trying to have a neckline with the razor. 

And he noticed that there was this little bump on the right side of his neck. Right above Adam’s apple.

Treatment for thyroid cancer
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He just became curious. He sensed it himself. He wasn’t feeling okay. Soon, Adrian consulted a doctor who instructed him to make a diagnosis. For him the hardest part was waiting to see the results.

As soon as the results arrived, he felt broken and his wife began to cry endlessly. But his doctor referred one of the oncologists who was an amazing surgeon. His name is Dr. Ahmad. Adrian praised him for being the most amazing doctor, he’s ever seen.

He was amazing with his family. Hopefully he sees this one way or the other. Adrian’s cancerous cells have begun to subside. He lives in peace with his family.

Like Adrian, many people require advice to survive thyroid cancer. This article will guide you on symptoms of thyroid cancer, treatment for thyroid cancer, causes of thyroid cancer and staging of thyroid cancer.

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What is thyroid cancer?

Thyroid cancer occurs in thyroid cells, a butterfly-shaped gland at the base of the neck, right under the Adam’s apple. Your thyroid is a hormone that regulates your heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature and weight.

Thyroid cancer may not cause symptoms when it starts. However, as it grows, it may cause pain and swelling in the neck.

There are different kinds of thyroid cancer. Some of them develop very slowly and some of them can be very aggressive. Most people with thyroid cancer can be treated.

Rates of thyroid cancer seem to increase. Some doctors believe this is because the new technology allows them to find smaller thyroid cancers that have not been found in the past.

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types-of-thyroid-cancer

Types of thyroid carcinoma include

Papillary thyroid cancer

Papillary thyroid cancer is a differentiated form of thyroid cancer. It’s the most common type. This is most common among women of childbearing age. It is less dangerous than other types of cancer. It spreads more slowly, and it’s quite treatable.

Medullary thyroid cancer

Another differentiated form of thyroid cancer is medullary cancer of the thyroid. 

Medullary thyroid cancer develops in non thyroid cells located in the thyroid gland. The treatment for thyroid cancer is different from other forms of thyroid cancer.

Follicular thyroid cancer

Follicular thyroid cancer is the type of thyroid cancer that has the greatest potential to spread and occur again. 

Anaplastic thyroid cancer

Anaplastic thyroid cancer is the most aggressively diagnosed form of thyroid cancer. This is rare and difficult to deal with.

Thyroid lymphoma

This is a rare form of thyroid cancer. It starts in the immune cells that are in the thyroid gland.

Stages of Thyroid cancer

The classification system for thyroid cancer staging is very similar for older patients with different tumors and for those with medullary thyroid cancer. Age is not a factor to consider when classifying medullary thyroid cancer.

The tumor is 2 cm or less (less than one inch wide), and has not grown out of the thyroid. It did not spread to surrounding lymph nodes or remote locations.

The diameter of the primary tumor lies between 2 and 4 cm. There are no cancer cells in the regional lymph nodes or distant places in the body.

The primary tumour has a diameter greater than 4 cm or started to grow outside the thyroid gland. Cancer has not been detected in lymph nodes or other areas of the body. 

The primary tumour is larger than 4 cm, or has grown outside the thyroid, but has not spread to adjacent lymph nodes or beyond (differentiated cancers only).

The tumor may be of any size or develop outside the thyroid, and has spread to the lymph nodes in the neck, but no further.

This is the most advanced stage of thyroid cancer, is subdivided according to where the cancer spread:

Stage 4A 

At this stage, cancers developed beyond the thyroid gland and may have spread to neighbouring tissues, or they may have spread to the lymph nodes of the neck and upper chest, but not to remote sites.

Stage 4B

The primary tumour developed in the spinal column or in the adjacent large blood vessels. In this stage of thyroid cancer, it may or may not have spread to the lymph nodes, but did not reach remote sites.

Stage 4C 

Thyroid cancer cells metastasized or propagated to remote sites.

symptoms

Symptoms of thyroid cancer

Thyroid cancer generally does not cause any signs or symptoms at the beginning of the disease. As thyroid cancer develops, it has the potential to cause:

  • A lump (nodule) that may be felt across the skin of your neck.
  • Changes to your tone, including growing hoarseness.
  • Swallowing difficulty
  • Painful neck and throat.
  • Enlarged lymph nodes in the neck.
  • Difficulty in breathing
thyroid cancer symptoms

What are the causes of thyroid cancer

The following factors can raise the risk of thyroid cancer:

  • Exposed to elevated levels of radiation. 
  • Radiotherapy of the head and neck increases the risk of thyroid cancer.
  • Certain hereditary genetic syndromes. 

Diagnosis

Diagnosis available for Thyroid Cancer

Thyroid cancer can be diagnosed after someone goes to the doctor for symptoms, or it can be found during a regular physical examination or other tests.

Individuals who have or could have thyroid cancer will undergo one or more of these tests.

To help identify suspected areas that could be cancer.

See how far cancer’s spread.

To aid in determining whether the treatment for thyroid cancer is working.

Ultrasound uses sound waves for images of parts of your body. No radiation exposure takes place during this test.

This test will determine if a thyroid node is solid or liquid-filled. It also checks the number and size of thyroid glands and helps determine whether nearby lymph nodes have swollen because thyroid cancer has spread.

For thyroid nodules that are too small to feel, this test may be used to guide a biopsy needle into the nodule to obtain a sample. 

Radioactive iodine scans can help determine whether a person with a bump in the neck could develop thyroid cancer. They are also often used in people who have previously been diagnosed with distinguished thyroid cancer to help demonstrate whether it has spread.

If you have been identified with thyroid cancer (particularly follicular thyroid cancer), a chest X-ray may be performed to see if cancer has spread to your lungs.

Computed tomography is an X-ray test that makes it possible to make detailed cross-sectional images of your body. It may help determine the size and location of thyroid cancers and whether they have spread to nearby regions. A computed tomography scan can also be used to search for propagation in distant organs such as the lungs.

MRI studies use magnets rather than radiation to create detailed images of your sectioned body. MRI can be used to search for thyroid cancer or cancer that has spread to parts near or far from the body. But ultrasound is generally the first option to look at the thyroid. MR may provide highly detailed images of soft tissues such as the thyroid gland. MRIs are also very useful in the examination of the brain and spinal cord.

A PET scan can be extremely useful if your thyroid cancer does not absorb radioactive iodine. When this happens, PET Scan may be able to tell if the cancer has spread.

The real diagnosis of thyroid cancer is done with a biopsy, in which the cells of the suspect area are removed and examined in the laboratory.

If your doctor thinks a biopsy is necessary, the easiest way to find out if a thyroid tumor is cancerous is with a fine thyroid needle. 

Thyroid tumours may sometimes affect the vocal cords. If you are going to undergo surgery to treat thyroid cancer, laryngoscopy will probably be performed first to see if the vocal cords are moving normally.

Treatments

Treatments for Thyroid cancer

Suggestions:

  • Most thyroid cancers are curable by treatment.
  • Therapy may not be required right away.
  • Very small thyroid cancers that are at low risk of spreading through the body may not require treatment immediately. Instead, you may want to consider active surveillance with frequent cancer follow-up. 
  • Your physician may recommend blood tests and an ultrasound of your neck once or twice a year.
  • In some individuals, cancer may never grow and may never require treatment. In other cases, growth can finally be detected and treatment can be initiated.

The majority of people with thyroid cancer undergo surgery to remove the thyroid. 

What do doctors recommend?

Your doctor’s recommendation depends on the types of thyroid cancer, the size of cancer if it has expanded beyond the thyroid gland. 

Operations used for the treatment of thyroid cancer include:

Removing all or most of the thyroid (thyroidectomy). 

procedure to remove the thyroid gland would involve removing all thyroid tissue (total thyroidectomy)

The doctor’s advice is based on the size and progress of the tumor.

Removal of part of the thyroid gland (thyroid lobectomy). When a thyroid lobectomy is performed, the surgeon removes half of the thyroid. It may be advisable if you have slow-growing thyroid cancer in the thyroid gland and no suspicious nodules in other areas of the thyroid.

After thyroidectomy, you can take the thyroid hormone levothyroxine for life.

Hormone therapy benefits

It provides the missing hormone that your thyroid would normally produce, and it removes the production of thyroid hormone stimulant (TSH) from your pituitary gland. 

Radioactive iodine treatment uses high levels of radioactive iodine.

Benefits

Radioiodine therapy can also be used to treat thyroid cancer that reappears after treatment or spreads to other parts of the body.

The radioactive iodine treatment comes in the form of a capsule or fluid that you swallow. 

Radioactive iodine is absorbed mostly by thyroid cells and thyroid cancer cells, so there is a low risk of harming other cells in your body.

Side effects may include:

  • Dryness in mouth
  • oral pain
  • inflammatory eyes
  • change in the sense of taste or odor.
  • tiredness

Radiotherapy may also be administered externally using a machine that targets high-energy beams, such as X-rays and protons, at specific points in your body (external radiotherapy). During processing, you stand still on a table while a machine moves around you.

When its recommended

External radiotherapy may be recommended if surgery is not an option and your cancer continues to develop after radiation iodine therapy. 

Chemo is a medicine that uses chemicals to kill cancer cells. Chemicals move through your body, killing fast-growing cells, including cancerous cells.

When Chemo is used?

Chemotherapy is not commonly used to treat thyroid cancer but is sometimes recommended for individuals with anaplastic thyroid cancer. Chemotherapy can be used in combination with radiotherapy.

Targeted medication treatments focus on certain abnormalities in cancer cells. By blocking these abnormalities, targeted medication treatments can cause the death of cancer cells.

Targeted drug therapy benefits

Targeted medication therapy for thyroid cancer targets signals that tell cancer cells to develop and split. It is usually used to treat advanced thyroid cancer.

Alcoholic ablation involves injecting alcohol into small thyroid cancers using imaging such as ultrasound to ensure the precise placement of the injection. 

Benefits 

It causes thyroid cancers to shrink. Alcohol ablation could be an option if your cancer is quite small and surgery is not an option. It is also sometimes used to treat cancer that reappears in the lymph nodes after surgical intervention.

Thyroid cancer treatment cost in India

Thyroid cancer treatment cost in India?

Thyroid cancer treatment cost in India can vary from $3,300 to $5,500 for NRIs.

Treatment cost
prostate cancer survival rate

Success Rate

Thyroid cancer survival rate in India

The five-year survival rate indicates the percentage of individuals living at least five years after the discovery of cancer. The percentage stands for how much out of 100.

Overall, patients with thyroid cancer have a five-year survival rate of 98%. However, survival rates are based on a wide range of factors, including the specific type of thyroid cancer and the stage of the disease.

Frequently Asked Questions and patient concerns:

1. What if I lose my voice while doing the surgery?

A: You won’t lose your voice. Hoarseness or changes will occur after the procedure that can be recovered within 6 months. If it goes beyond six months, voice therapy could be performed. The potential for permanent nerve damage is only about 1%.

2. Do I require a yellow fever vaccination certificate when traveling to India?

A: Yes, if you are travelling from Africa, South America or other areas that have yellow fever.

3. Who is at greatest risk for thyroid cancer?

Thyroid cancer occurs more frequently in women than men, and even more so during the reproductive period. The majority of women diagnosed with thyroid cancer are between 44 and 49 years old. Men are more susceptible to developing thyroid cancer at a later age. For instance, between 80 and 84 years old.

4. Are you putting on weight with thyroid cancer?

Too much T3 and T4 will make you feel hyperactive and you can lose weight. If you do not have enough of these hormones, you will feel lazy and you will be able to gain weight.

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