Cancer, thyroid

Other names: Thyroid cancer

DEFINITION

Thyroid Cancer occurs in the cells of the thyroid — a butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of your neck, just below your Adam's apple. Your thyroid produces hormones that regulate your heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature and weight. Although thyroid Cancer isn't common in the United States, rates seem to be increasing. Doctors think this is because new technology is allowing them to find small thyroid Cancers that may not have been found in the past. Most cases of thyroid Cancer can be cured with treatment.

SYMPTOMS

Thyroid Cancer typically doesn't cause any signs or symptoms early in the disease. As thyroid Cancer grows, it may cause:

When to see a doctor: If you experience any these signs or symptoms, make an appointment with your doctor.

CAUSES

It's not clear what causes thyroid Cancer. Thyroid Cancer occurs when cells in your thyroid undergo genetic changes (mutations). The mutations allow the cells to grow and multiply rapidly. The cells also lose the ability to die, as normal cells would. The accumulating abnormal thyroid cells form a Tumor. The abnormal cells can invade nearby tissue and can spread throughout the body.

Types of thyroid Cancer: 1. Papillary thyroid Cancer 2. Follicular thyroid Cancer 3. Medullary thyroid Cancer 4. Anaplastic thyroid Cancer 5. Thyroid Lymphoma

RISK FACTORS

Factors that may increase the risk of thyroid Cancer include:

COMPLICATIONS

Thyroid Cancer that comes back despite treatment can be treated. Your doctor may recommend periodic blood tests or thyroid scans to check for signs of a recurrence.

PREPARING FOR YOUR APPOINTMENT

If you have signs and symptoms that worry you, start by seeing your family doctor or a general practitioner.

TESTS AND DIAGNOSIS

Tests and procedures used to diagnose thyroid Cancer include:

TREATMENTS AND DRUGS

Treatment options depend on the type and stage of your thyroid Cancer, your overall health, and your preferences. 1. Surgery 2. Thyroid hormone therapy 3. Radioactive iodine treatment 4. External radiation therapy 5. Chemotherapy

LIFESTYLE AND HOME REMEDIES

There's no known way to prevent most cases of thyroid Cancer for people with an average risk of the disease.

COPING AND SUPPORT

A diagnosis of thyroid Cancer can be frightening. Finding out enough about it to make decisions about your care is essential.


QUESTIONS

  1. What are some common symptoms of thyroid cancer?

A lump on the neck, changes in voice, difficulty swallowing, pain in neck/throat, swollen lymph nodes.

  1. What factors may increase the risk of developing thyroid cancer?

Female sex, exposure to high levels of radiation, certain inherited genetic syndromes.

  1. What are some types of thyroid cancer?

Papillary, Follicular, Medullary, Anaplastic, Thyroid Lymphoma.

  1. How is radioactive iodine used in treating thyroid cancer?

It destroys any remaining healthy tissue and microscopic cancer cells after surgery.

  1. What is one potential complication of thyroid cancer treatment?

Thyroid cancer recurrence.

  1. How can one prepare for a doctor's appointment regarding potential thyroid issues?

By being aware of symptoms and writing down questions and personal information.

  1. What is one lifestyle change recommended for those at high risk for medullary thyroid cancer?

Prophylactic thyroidectomy.

  1. What are some possible side effects of radioactive iodine treatment?

Nausea, dry mouth/eyes, altered sense of taste/smell.

  1. In what age group does anaplastic thyroid cancer typically occur?

Adults aged 60 or older.

  1. How can individuals cope with a diagnosis of thyroid cancer?

By finding support groups/survivors' networks and maintaining overall health through diet and exercise strategies.