Saturday, April 13, 2024

How Does Someone Get Thyroid Cancer

Thyroid Cancer Is Easy To Cure But Only If You Can Find It

Mayo Clinic explains thyroid cancer

Cancer of the thyroid gland is easy to survive but hard to find unless youre really looking for it. Doctors say those with a family history of the disease ought to make the effort.

Few Americans would list thyroid cancer as a health condition they worry about. Although its among the ten most common types of cancer in the United States, and diagnosis rates continue to rise, the vast majority of thyroid cancers grow slowly and respond well to treatment.

Thyroid cancer wasnt something Dr. Stacie Chasin worried about, either, even after her mother and uncle were diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancers in 2011. Chasin, an internist in Goshen, New York, initially shrugged off the advice that she have an ultrasound to see whether she had the cancer, too.

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland about 3 centimeters wide that sits below the Adams apple. Nodules, or growths, on the thyroid are not uncommon, and most are benign.

But the nodules are so small they are hard for doctors to find. Most are discovered accidentally when patients undergo imaging tests for other conditions. A thorough physicians assistant noticed a bump on Chasins mothers thyroid during a routine exam.

In 2013, Chasin stopped by the radiology department that sits next to her office to get an ultrasound done and end her familys nagging. The test detected a single large nodule, which also turned out to be a papillary cancer.

Thats it.

Needing Second Thyroid Cancer Surgery: Persistent Or Recurrent Thyroid Cancer

Persistent or recurrent papillary thyroid cancer in residual thyroid tissue is much more concerning for the potential for the cancer to spread directly into the breathing tube or voice box. Only the most skilled and experience thyroid cancer surgery experts should manage such circumstances. The purpose of this specific thyroid cancer surgery is to maintain vocal and swallowing function, parathyroid function, and airway control. These are the most complicated and complex of all thyroid cancer surgeries.

Prognosis And Survival Rates For Thyroid Cancer

When someone is diagnosed with thyroid cancer, their doctor will give them a prognosis. A prognosis is the doctors opinion of how likely the cancer will spread and the chances of getting better. A prognosis depends on the type and stage of cancer, test results and a persons age, fitness and medical history.

The most common types of thyroid cancer have an excellent long-term prognosis, especially if the cancer is found only in the thyroid or nearby lymph nodes in the neck. Even if the cancer has spread, the outcome can still be good.

Doctors commonly use 5-year survival rates as a way to discuss prognosis. This is because research studies often follow people for 5 years it does not mean you will survive for only 5 years. Thyroid cancer has a very high 5-year survival rate .

If you have thyroid cancer, your doctor will talk to you about your individual situation when working out your prognosis. Every persons experience is different, and there is support available to you.

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Side Effects Of Thyroid Cancer Treatment

All cancer treatments can have side effects. Your treatment team will discuss these with you before you start treatment. Talk to your doctor or nurse about any side effects you are experiencing. Some side effects can be upsetting and difficult, but there is help if you need it. Call Cancer Council Tel. or email to speak with a caring cancer nurse for support.

Survival For All Types And Stages Of Thyroid Cancer

What are the facts about thyroid cancer?

These statistics are for people diagnosed with thyroid cancer in England between 2013 and 2017. There are some differences between men and women:

1 year survival

  • 90 out of every 100 men survive thyroid cancer for at least 1 year after diagnosis
  • More than 90 out of every 100 women survive thyroid cancer for at least 1 year after diagnosis

5 year survival

  • Almost 85 out of every 100 men survive thyroid cancer for at least 5 years
  • 90 out of every 100 women survive thyroid cancer for at least 5 years after diagnosis

10 year survival

  • Around 85 out of every 100 people survive their cancer for 10 years or more after diagnosis

Cancer survival by stage at diagnosis for England, 2019Office for National Statistics

These figures are for net survival of people diagnosed between 2013 and 2017.

Net survival estimates the number of people who survive their cancer rather than calculating the number of people diagnosed with cancer who are still alive. In other words, it is the survival of cancer patients after taking into account that some people would have died from other causes if they had not had cancer.

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Thyroid Nodules Causes And Risk Factors

Thyroid nodules are very common and there are several conditions that can cause them to develop in your thyroid gland, including the following:

  • Iodine deficiency: Low iodine levels are associated with an increased risk of developing goiters or an enlarged thyroid gland.
  • Hashimotos disease: Hashimotos disease causes inflammation of the thyroid gland and can cause the thyroid gland to become enlarged. This disorder results from the underproduction of thyroid hormone and can lead to the gradual destruction of the thyroid gland itself.
  • Overgrowth of thyroid tissue: Sometimes theres an overgrowth of normal thyroid tissue, which is called a thyroid adenoma. Its unclear why this happens, but it can lead to lumps in the thyroid gland and an overproduction of thyroid hormones.
  • Thyroid cyst: A fluid-filled cyst can develop in the thyroid, which may be the result of abnormal thyroid tissue growth. These cysts are often a mix of solid and fluid components and are usually benign. Sometimes, however, solid components in a cyst can be malignant.
  • Thyroid goiter: A goiter an abnormal enlargement of the thyroid gland that causes a bulge in the neck. This can occur when theres an overproduction or underproduction of thyroid hormones.
  • Thyroid cancer: Most thyroid nodules are benign and are caused by other factors, but sometimes a nodule is caused by cancerous cells in the thyroid. If a nodule is hard, large and painful, there is a greater risk of malignancy.

What Are The Symptoms Of Thyroid Cancer

  • A lump or swelling on the side of the neck is the most common symptom.
  • Having trouble breathing.
  • Having trouble swallowing.
  • Having a hoarse voice.

These symptoms can also come from other conditions. If you have any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor right away. Dont wait until the symptoms get worse.

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After A Diagnosis Of Thyroid Cancer

After a diagnosis of thyroid cancer you may feel disbelief, uncertainty, fear and anxiety. There is no right or wrong way to feel and experiencing a range of emotions is normal. While the most common types of thyroid cancers have a very good long-term prognosis, you may still feel shocked and confused. It may help to talk to family and friends about how you are feeling.

Ask your specialist to explain treatment options and any potential side effects and financial concerns. Take as much time as you can so that you can make well-informed decisions.

Can Thyroid Cancer Be Prevented

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Most thyroid cancer cannot be prevented.

One rare type of thyroid cancer, called medullary thyroid cancer , runs in families. A genetic test can tell you if you have a greater chance of getting MTC. If this test shows that you have an increased risk, you can have your thyroid gland removed to reduce your risk for thyroid cancer later in life.

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The Tnm Staging System

The American Joint Committee on Cancer created the system thatâs most often used to describe the stages of thyroid cancer. Itâs called the âTNMâ system, and it focuses on these three things:

  • T What is the size and extent of the main, or primary, tumor?
  • N Has the cancer spread to nearby lymph nodes? .
  • M Has the cancer spread, or metastasized, to other areas of the body or organs, namely the lungs, liver, and bones?

After your doctor runs tests to find out what type of thyroid cancer you have, theyâll add a number to each letter listed above. The higher the number, the more advanced is that aspect of the cancer. .

Next, your doctor will group this information into stages. These are represented by the Roman numerals I through IV. For the most advanced cases, the letters âA,â âBâ and âCâ also are used to indicate how far the cancer has spread.

What type of cancer you have, as well as your age, will have some bearing on your stage.

Hereâs what each stage of thyroid cancer means, grouped by types:

How Is Thyroid Cancer Diagnosed

If your doctor suspects from your physical exam and ultrasound that you may have cancer, you will need to have a fine needle aspiration biopsy. The results of the biopsy can be highly suggestive of thyroid cancer and will prompt surgical treatment. Thyroid cancer can only be diagnosed with certainty after the nodule is removed surgically . Thyroid nodules are very common, but less than 1 in 10 will be a thyroid cancer.

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How Is Thyroid Cancer Treated With Radioactive Iodine Ablation

A normal thyroid gland needs iodine to produce its metabolism-controlling hormones. With radioactive iodine treatment, radioactive iodine, swallowed in pill form, travels through the body until it is taken up by cells of the thyroid, just like the regular iodine found in everyday foods like salt and milk. Unlike regular iodine, though, the radioactive iodine is toxic to thyroid cells.

Radioactive iodine treatment helps prevent thyroid cancer from returning after surgery. It is typically used for papillary thyroid cancer and follicular thyroid cancers that have spread to lymph nodes or other body parts.

Radioactive iodine treatment does not work for medullary thyroid cancer and anaplastic thyroid cancer or for thyroid lymphoma because these forms of cancer do not involve the types of thyroid cells that use iodine.

Because all the radioactive material gets directed to the thyroid, Radioactive iodine treatment does not harm other cells in the body.

Questions To Ask The Doctor

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  • What treatment do you think is best for me?
  • Whats the goal of this treatment? Do you think it could cure the cancer?
  • Will this treatment affect my ability to have children? Do I need to avoid pregnancy for a while?
  • Will treatment include surgery? If so, who will do the surgery?
  • What will the surgery be like?
  • Will I need other types of treatment, too? Whats the goal of these treatments?
  • What side effects could I have from these treatments?
  • What can I do about side effects that I might have?
  • Is there a clinical trial that might be right for me?
  • What about special vitamins or diets that friends tell me about? How will I know if they are safe?
  • How soon do I need to start treatment?
  • What should I do to be ready for treatment?
  • Is there anything I can do to help the treatment work better?
  • Whats the next step?

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Risks And Causes Of Thyroid Cancer

A persons risk of developing thyroid cancer depends on many factors, including age, some non cancerous thyroid conditions and a family history of thyroid cancer.

We dont know what causes most thyroid cancers. But there are some factors that might increase your risk of developing it.

Having any of these risk factors doesnt mean that you will definitely develop thyroid cancer.

What Is The Thyroid

The thyroid gland is located in front of the neck. It looks sort of like a butterfly with one wing on each side of the neck. The thyroid is important in many ways for keeping your body healthy. It sends out certain chemicals that help control many activities in the body, such as breathing and pumping blood. The thyroid helps childrens bodies develop as they grow up, including getting taller and putting on muscle. It helps control weight and is also involved in other functions.

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How Is It Treated

Thyroid cancer is treated with surgery and often with radioactive iodine. It rarely needs radiation therapy or chemotherapy. What treatment you need depends on your age, the type of thyroid cancer you have, and the stage of your disease. Stage refers to how severe the disease is and how far, if at all, the cancer has spread.

Finding out that you have cancer can be overwhelming. It’s common to feel scared, sad, or even angry. Talking to others who have had thyroid cancer may help. Ask your doctor about cancer support groups in your area.

Keeping Health Insurance And Copies Of Your Medical Records

Ask Mayo Clinic: Thyroid Cancer

Even after treatment, its very important to keep health insurance. Tests and doctor visits cost a lot, and even though no one wants to think of their cancer coming back, this could happen.

At some point after your cancer treatment, you might find yourself seeing a new doctor who doesnt know about your medical history. Its important to keep copies of your medical records to give your new doctor the details of your diagnosis and treatment. Learn more in Keeping Copies of Important Medical Records.

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Managing Thyroid Cancer Without Surgery

Thyroid cancer rates have risen dramatically in the past few decades, likely due to the explosion of imaging technologythe more you look, the more you find.

The good news is life expectancy has not changed significantly. In fact, the mismatch of incidence and death rates proves thyroid cancer is rarely life-threatening. Enter active surveillance, a non-surgical option appropriate for low-risk cancers.

The rush to remove all suspicious tumors is a thing of the past, says endocrinologist Hyesoo Lowe, MD, medical director of the Columbia Thyroid Center, referring to the old if its cancer its gotta come out standard of care. Today, low-risk thyroid cancer can be monitored, checking in on tumor growth over time and usually avoiding surgery.

Most thyroid cancersabout 80% of casesare papillary thyroid cancers , which have the best prognosis. PTC is often detected incidentally, during a test for something else, like a scan for unrelated neck pain. The tumors are usually small, one reason, along with a lack of symptoms, people may not know they have cancer.

Because PTC is usually slow-growing, patients have two treatment choices: surgery and surveillance. In active surveillance, patients have neck ultrasounds twice a year for two years to monitor changes, if any, in the tumor.

Patients have options, says Lowe. We can customize treatment to their considerations, clinically and personally.

That said, theres strict criteria for active surveillance:

Side Effects Of Thyroid Hormone Treatment

Thyroid hormone pills themselves do not usually cause side effects, but it can take some time to get the dosage right, and you may experience symptoms of either or while you and your doctor work to determine the correct dose.

Symptoms of too much thyroid hormone may include:

  • Increased heart rate

Symptoms of too little thyroid hormone may include:

  • dry skin and hair

Definitely check in with your doctor if you feel you are experiencing any of the above symptoms so that your dosage can be properly adjusted.

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What Are Symptoms Of Thyroid Cancer

Symptoms of thyroid cancer include:

  • A lump or nodule in the neck
  • Nodule may cause no symptoms
  • In some cases, the tumor may have spread to lymph nodes in the neck, which may be enlarged
  • Swelling in the neck
  • Pain in the neck, jaw, or ear
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing if the nodule is large
  • Hoarseness or other voice changes
  • Persistent cough not due to a cold
  • Early Warning Signs Of Thyroid Cancer

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    The most common early sign of thyroid cancer is an unusual lump, nodule or swelling in the neck. If you notice a new or growing lump, you should see your doctor, who can run additional tests to identify the cause and determine if it is a tumor. Most nodules on the thyroid are usually benign, but it is important to have any unusual growths examined by a health care professional.

    Other early warning signs of thyroid cancer include:

    • Swollen glands in the neck
    • A cough that persists and is not caused by a cold

    Other possible symptoms of thyroid cancer include:

    Neck pain: In many cases, neck pain starts in the front. In some cases, the neck pain may extend all the way to the ears.

    Voice changes: Experiencing hoarseness or other voice changes that do not go away could be a sign of thyroid cancer.

    Breathing problems: Sometimes thyroid cancer patients say it feels like they are breathing through a straw. This breathing difficulty is often a symptom of the disease.

    Trouble swallowing: A growth or nodule on the thyroid gland may interfere with swallowing.

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    Evaluation And Management Of The Solitary Thyroid Nodule

    The key to the workup of the solitary thyroid nodule is to differentiate malignant from benign disease and, thus, to determine which patients require intervention and which patients may be monitored serially. History taking, physical examination, laboratory evaluation, and fine-needle aspiration biopsy are the mainstays in the evaluation of thyroid nodules. Imaging studies can be adjuncts in select cases.

    A 2015 consensus statement from the American Thyroid Association on preoperative imaging for thyroid cancer surgery stated the following :

    Better Diagnosis Not Overdiagnosis

    The studys authors looked at the number of thyroid cancer diagnoses from the 1960s to the 1990s. Using these findings, they then projected the number of cases we should expect to have seen in the 2000s. The authors compared this projected number with how many cases were actually reported in the 2000s according to cancer registries for the United States and several other countries. They found that more cases of thyroid cancer were reported than the data suggested there should have been. The reason, they concluded, was overdiagnosis of thyroid cancers.

    I believe the word overdiagnosis may be a misnomer in this situation, because the diagnosis of thyroid cancer is correct. Perhaps overtreatment may be a more appropriate term. We diagnose thyroid cancer more often today because we can screen more effectively for the disease. Ultrasound technology is more accurate, has higher resolution, and is less expensive compared to technology in the 1950s and 60s. CT scans werent routinely available until the 1970s. Today, better technology and frequent screening allows us to detect and diagnose more cancers at an earlier stage and generally reduces death and morbidity from these cancers. Breast cancer and colon cancer represent good examples. Despite the variable and often indolent behavior of these tumors, thyroid cancers detected in this manner are real cancers that can cause death and morbidity. As such, we avoid the use of the term overdiagnosis.

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