WHAT IS THYROID CANCER?
Thyroid cancer forms in the cells of the thyroid – a “butterfly” shaped gland located at the base of the neck. Treating thyroid cancer varies depending on the type. Types of thyroid cancer include:
- Follicular thyroid cancer:A less common but more aggressive type of thyroid cancer that comes from follicular cells.
- Papillary thyroid cancer: The most common type of thyroid cancer that arise from follicular cells.
- Medullary thyroid cancer: A strand of thyroid cancer that stem from cells in the Thyroid gland call “C” cells that produce a hormone called calcitonin.
SYMPTOMS OF THYROID CANCER
Generally there are no signs when Thyroid cancer begins, however as it grows the signs and symptoms include:
- A lump that can be felt through the skin on the neck
- Changes in voice
- Difficulty swallowing
- Pain in the neck and throat
- Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
TREATMENT OPTIONS AVAILABLE FOR THYROID CANCER
- Thyroidectomy:An incision is made in the base of the neck and the thyroid gland is removed. To reduce the risk of parathyroid damage, the surgeon will, in most cases, leave small bits of thyroid tissue remaining around the parathyroid glands.
- Thyroid hormone therapy:Regular blood tests to check thyroid hormone levels are required annually.
DIAGNOSTIC SERVICES AVAILABLE FOR THYROID CANCER
Test for thyroid cancer include:
- Physical exam: A doctor will check for any changes in thyroid and ask questions pertaining to their medical history
- Blood tests: To determine the thyroid’s level of function
- Image testing:Tests such as CT (computerized tomography) scans, PET (positron emission tomography) scans or ultrasounds are used to see whether the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.