Thyroid Cancer

Thyroid gland produces the thyroid hormone that regulates metabolism, heart rate and mental functions. Even though it is only a small gland located in the front of the neck below the larynx, it is a very important gland. But all tumors in thyroid gland are not malign and hence not dangerous.

Thyroid Cancer

Patients with thyroid cancer, do not show any symptoms but get lumps in the front of the neck. A few other symptoms that they may experience due to the disease are:

  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Hoarseness
  • Chronic pain in the neck or throat
  • A persistent severe cough
  • Discussion of medical history
  • Physical Examination of the thyroid gland, throat, and lymph nodes
  • Ultrasound tests such as CT/MRI
  • Blood tests
  • Molecular testing
  • Biopsy
  • Surgery: Doctors only recommend surgery for thyroid cancer patients. There are different types of surgeries performed depending on the type of tumor
    • Total thyroidectomy: In this procedure, the thyroid gland is completely removed.
    • Lobectomy: Care is taken to remove the tumor only and if required one lobe of the thyroid gland.
    • Minimally invasive surgeries: If the tumors are small and localized, the doctor removes the tumor through a small cut in the neck. These procedures are minimally invasive. Watching through a video the tumor is removed through a small incision only.
    • Lymphadenectomy: This procedure is called lymph node dissection. The surgeon will remove the nearby lymph nodes if the tumor has spread.
    • Thyroid Hormone Therapy: Thyroid medications are given to patients whose thyroid has been surgically removed.
    • Radioactive Iodine Therapy: In this procedure, patients are given a dose of radioactive iodine orally. Iodine is absorbed by the cancer cells, but healthy cells do not absorb the iodine. This therapy, also known as RAI therapy, is performed after surgery.
  • Treatments for Advanced Cancers: Oncologists may team up with head and neck specialists to preserve voice quality. Advanced techniques may be employed if the cancer has spread or has recurred. Sometimes, radiation therapy and chemotherapy are together administered. External beam radiation therapy involves higher doses of radiation to kill cancer cells.

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