Thyroid is usually found in the lower front of a person’s neck and is shaped like a small butterfly. It controls your metabolism and also releases hormones that function how you use your energy, and consume oxygen.
The change of cells and their abnormal behavior causes a tumor which leads to thyroid cancer. However, if detected at early stages, thyroid cancer treatment is one of the easiest out of all types of cancers.
Researchers around the world have found four main types of thyroid cancer:
Papillary thyroid cancer: The most common type of thyroid cancer and has a good but slow chance of treatment.
Follicular thyroid cancer: It can spread to your lymph nodes and blood vessels.
Medullary cancer: Most likely to be detected at early stages due to calcitonin – a hormone it produces.
Anaplastic thyroid cancer: The most aggressive and hardest to treat.
The exact cause of thyroid cancer has not been identified as of now but it is usually linked with a number of inherited conditions such as a family history of goiter. Other known causes include exposure to radiation and some hereditary syndromes. According to webmd, it is more common in women than men as the former get it in their 40s and 50s while the latter in 60s and 70s.
However, you can still get thyroid cancer at a young age.
Detecting symptoms at the early stage of thyroid cancer is very hard because there are only a few in the beginning. The most common ones are:
- Pain in throat and neck
- Lump in neck
- Difficulty in breathing or swallowing
- Change in vocals
Some factors such as smoking can be changed to avoid thyroid cancers but others like age factor and family history cannot be changed and are out of a person’s hands. Even when a person is detected with thyroid cancer, it is difficult to figure out the risk factor which led to cancer.
Following tests and procedures can be done for diagnosis of thyroid cancer:
- Physical exams
- Different blood tests
- Removing a sample of thyroid tissue
- Other imaging tests such as MRI
- Genetic testing
Thyroid cancer is usually very treatable and less fatal, even if it is detected at an advanced stage. The treatment depends on the stage of your cancer, your age, and your overall health. In some cases, the treatment is not even appropriate right away as some very small thyroid cancers do not spread in your body.
Most people with thyroid cancer have to undergo surgery to cure it properly. The operation procedures could include:
- Thyroid lobectomy
- Lymph node dissection
It uses large doses of radioactive iodine to treat cancer. But it includes side effects such as dry mouth, pain in the mouth, fatigue, and more.
External radiation therapy:
It can be used through machines that aim high-energy beams, such as X-rays, externally.
It is a drug used to kill cancer cells in your body. It travels in your body and quickly kills the growing cells.