Thyroid cancer, like all cancers, occurs when cells start behaving and growing abnormally. This cancer develops in the tissues of the thyroid gland, and starts to spread to other parts of the body. Thyroid cancer is a rare type of cancer, but can be cured if found early, and the treatments work well. In India, the prevalence of thyroid cancer among all cancers is 0.1% to 0.2%, with females being more likely to contract this disease, in an almost 3:1 ratio.
Thyroid cancer has relatively less and subtle symptoms, sometimes none at all. Symptoms are:
- The most common symptom is a lump or swelling in the neck
- Difficulty swallowing
- Pain in the neck and area below and around the ears
- Difficulty breathing and wheezing breath or cough
- Unexplained hoarseness of voice
- Unexplained coughing
When to see a doctor?
See a doctor if you experience any of the above listed symptoms. Routine check-ups with a doctor are important because not all disease have noticeable symptoms. Always trust premier medical institutions like Paras Hospitals Group, which have specialized departments for the treatment of your condition.
Causes and Risk Factors
There is uncertainty as to what causes thyroid cancer, like all cancers, but changes in DNA, genetics and environmental factors play a role. Risk factors include:
- Gender: Women are more likely to get this disease
- Age: People between 40 to 70 are more likely to get this disease
- Heredity: Inheriting an abnormal gene can result in this disease, family history of cancer also increases its chances
- Radiation: Exposure to radiation during previous treatment can increase likelihood of this disease
- A diet low in iodine is also a risk factor
Treatment and Management
Treatment of thyroid cancer occurs in steps, which are:/p>
- Surgery: In which parts of the gland containing cancer are removed. If one part or lobe is removed, it is called a lobectomy, if both lobes are removed it is called a total thyroidectomy, and if all but a small part is removed, it is called a near-total thyroidectomy.
- Radioactive iodine: This is the second step, done after surgery to destroy any remaining thyroid tissue.
- Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) suppression therapy: This will suppress TSH in your body preventing the growth of any remaining cancer cells.
In case of advanced stage of the disease, sometimes chemotherapy and radiation therapy may also be a part of the treatment.