Thyroid-related diseases are common, but sometimes they can take the form of cancer. Thyroid cancer is more common in women than in men. There are mainly four types of thyroid cancer – papillary, follicular, medullary and anaplastic. These four types of thyroid cancer depend on what the cancer cells look like.
Thyroid cancer develops inside the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is shaped like a butterfly in appearance. The hormones released from this gland control the metabolism of the body. In addition, thyroid hormone helps maintain a healthy blood pressure, heart rate, and body temperature.
A tumor develops when the cells inside the thyroid gland multiply. Thyroid cancer, which is a form of endocrine cancer, usually increases a person’s chances of survival if it is diagnosed on time.
Common symptoms of thyroid cancer
- sore throat or lump in the neck
- severe neck pain that sometimes radiates to the ears
- frequent voice changes
- experiencing trouble swallowing and breathing
- persistent cough
- enlargement of a node in the neck
- Weight gain, loss of appetite, decreased sweating
- Feeling very cold and other symptoms related to hypothyroidism also appear
Who is at higher risk of thyroid cancer? Thyroid cancer is three times more common in women than in men. Thyroid cancer cases are seen more when women are between the ages of 40 and 50 and men are between the ages of 60 and 70. Treatment of thyroid cancer depends on several factors, such as the size of the lesion. What type of cancer is growing and what is the condition of lymph nodes. Even though thyroid cancer has reached an advanced stage, it is still possible to treat it.
Surgery: The most common treatment for thyroid cancer is surgery. Depending on the size and location of the tumor, surgeons may decide to perform a hemithyroidectomy (removal of a portion or a lobe of the thyroid gland) or, in some cases, a thyroidectomy, that is, the removal of the entire thyroid gland. In addition to the thyroid gland, lymph nodes in the neck may also need to be removed.
Radioiodine therapy: In this therapy, the patient has to swallow a tablet or a liquid which contains an appropriate amount of radioactive iodine. This amount is usually higher than the amount of radioactive iodine used in a radioiodine scan. This radioiodine destroys the damaged thyroid gland as well as cancer cells.
Near-Infrared Imaging (NiFi) and Nerve Monitoring: This technology is the latest coming in India for thyroid cancer surgery with promising results. There is also a parathyroid gland inside the thyroid gland and this technique helps to preserve the parathyroid gland while removing the cancer.