Age Gender And Being Exposed To Radiation Can Affect The Risk Of Thyroid Cancer
Anything that increases your risk of getting a disease is called a risk factor. Having a risk factor does not mean that you will get cancer not having risk factors doesnt mean that you will not get cancer. Talk with your doctor if you think you may be at risk.
Risk factors for thyroid cancer include the following:
- Being between 25 and 65 years old.
- Being exposed to radiation to the head and neck as an infant or child or being exposed to radioactive fallout. The cancer may occur as soon as 5 years after exposure.
- Having a history of goiter .
- Having a family history of thyroid disease or thyroid cancer.
- Having certain geneticconditions such as familial medullary thyroid cancer , multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2A syndrome , or multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2B syndrome .
Causes Of Thyroid Cancer
The exact cause of stage 4 thyroid cancer is not known. However, there are some potential risk factors that may cause thyroid cancer. The factors that may lead to thyroid cancer can be-
- If there is a family history of thyroid cancer, then you are at a greater risk of getting it.
- Iodine deficiency. If you dont get much of this chemical element in your diet, you could be at more risk for certain types of thyroid cancer.
- A history of goiter.
- Radiation exposure might cause thyroid cancer if your head or neck was exposed to radiation treatment as a child.
- People who are obese have an increased rate of developing thyroid cancer than fit people.
- Females are at more risk of thyroid cancer. According to some experts, it might be because of the hormone estrogen.
When Should I See My Healthcare Provider About Papillary Thyroid Cancer
If youve been diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer, youll need to see your healthcare team regularly to monitor your treatment progress. Youll also need long-term monitoring every six to 12 months to look for cancer recurrence for at least five years.
If you had your thyroid removed and/or had radioactive iodine therapy as part of treatment, youll need to take thyroid hormone medication for the rest of your life. Your healthcare provider will want to monitor your thyroid hormone levels throughout your life to make sure your medication dosage is working for you.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Receiving a cancer diagnosis is unsettling, regardless of the type. The good news is that papillary thyroid cancer often has an excellent prognosis. Your healthcare team will work with you to determine the best treatment plan for you.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 06/28/2022.
You May Like: How To Test Your Thyroid
Stage Iv Thyroid Cancer
Virginia Cancer Institute wants you to know as much as possible about your condition. Use the dropdown below to search for information on a specific type of cancer.
Stage IV thyroid canceralso called metastatic disease is cancer that has spread beyond the thyroid to the soft tissues of the neck, lymph nodes in the neck, or distant locations in the body. The lungs and bone are the most frequent sites of distant spread. Papillary carcinoma more frequently spreads to regional lymph nodes than to distant sites. Follicular carcinoma is more likely to invade blood vessels and spread to distant locations. Anaplastic thyroid cancer is considered metastatic at diagnosis.
The prognosis for patients with distant metastases has historically been poor but the recent development of newer precision cancer medicines appears promising. Cancer treatment may consist of surgery, radioactive iodine treatment, radiation, chemotherapy, precision cancer medicines or a combination of these treatment techniques. Combining two or more of these treatment techniques has become an important approach for increasing a patients chance of cure and prolonging survival.
How Is Stage 4 Thyroid Cancer Treated
Im about to sound like a broken record, but this again depends on the type of cancer. For almost all types the first step in treatment is a total thyroidectomy. For patients diagnosed at earlier stages, whose disease has progressed, any remaining thyroid tissue and involved lymph nodes will likely be removed. This is known as a radical neck dissection. Further treatment for papillary and follicular carcinomas involves radioactive iodine treatment. Sadly, these two types of thyroid cancer can become resistant to radioactive iodine, and thus may require radiation and/or chemotherapy.
Medullary and ananplastic diseases, however, are not sensitive to radioactive iodine at all, and must begin with surgery, followed by radiation/chemotherapy. Further targeted treatments are possible utilizing biomarkers and genetic traits of the tumor.
Surgical removal of metastases has been utilized in some patients, but it should be understood that the primary outcome with these surgeries is to improve quality of life.
You May Like: Signs You Have Thyroid Cancer
Certain Factors Affect Prognosis And Treatment Options
The prognosis and treatment options depend on the following:
- The age of the patient at the time of diagnosis.
- The type of thyroid cancer.
- The stage of the cancer.
- Whether the cancer was completely removed by surgery.
- Whether the patient has multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2B .
- The patient’s general health.
Cancer can spread through tissue, the lymph system, and the blood:
- Tissue. The cancer spreads from where it began by growing into nearby areas.
- Lymph system. The cancer spreads from where it began by getting into the lymph system. The cancer travels through the lymph vessels to other parts of the body.
- Blood. The cancer spreads from where it began by getting into the blood. The cancer travels through the blood vessels to other parts of the body.
How Is Papillary Thyroid Cancer Staged
Papillary thyroid cancer staging is based on the results of the physical examination, biopsy, imaging tests and the pathologic findings of surgery itself .
Papillary thyroid cancer has a staging system that is not like other cancers. This staging system for papillary thyroid cancer takes into account the age of the patient. The break point of age in the American Joint Committee on Cancer staging system for papillary thyroid cancer is 55 years of age. Therefore, if you are less than 55 years of age, the most advanced papillary thyroid cancer is stage II disease.
In papillary thyroid cancer staging, and for that matter all cancer staging, the earlier the stage of disease is the more favorable and curable the cancer. Therefore, the lower/smaller the number, the better the chance for cure and long term survival. :1167-214.)
Also Check: What Is An Overactive Thyroid Called
How Is Thyroid Cancer Staged
Staging of thyroid cancer helps the doctors figure out the on how much the cancer has spread in the body and determine its best treatment. Staging also helps calculate survival statistics too. The lower the number of the stage, the less is the cancer has spread, with early stages being 1 and the most advanced stage being 4. The staging system and the other factors taken into consideration to determine the stage of thyroid cancer are as follows:
What Causes Papillary Thyroid Cancer
Scientists still dont know the exact cause of papillary thyroid cancer, but they have identified risk factors that increase your risk of developing PTC, including radiation exposure and certain genetic conditions.
Radiation exposure and papillary thyroid cancer
The rates of papillary thyroid cancer are higher in people who have a history of exposure to significant ionizing radiation. This exposure could be due to:
- High-dose external radiation treatments to your neck, especially during childhood, used to treat cancer or some noncancerous conditions.
- Radiation exposure from nuclear plant disasters. The Chernobyl nuclear accident in 1986 led to a 3- to 75-fold increase in PTC cases in fallout regions.
Genetics and papillary thyroid cancer
A few genetic conditions are associated with PTC, including:
Only 5% of all papillary thyroid cases are associated with these genetic conditions.
Read Also: Can Overactive Thyroid Cause Eye Problems
How Can I Prevent Thyroid Cancer
Many people develop thyroid cancer for no known reason, so prevention isnt really possible. But if you know youre at risk for thyroid cancer, you may be able to take these steps:
- Preventive surgery: Genetic tests can determine if you carry an altered gene that increases your risk for medullary thyroid cancer or multiple endocrine neoplasia. If you have the faulty gene, you may opt to have preventive surgery to remove your thyroid gland before cancer develops.
- Potassium iodide: If you were exposed to radiation during a nuclear disaster, such as the 2011 incident at Fukushima, Japan, taking potassium iodide within 24 hours of exposure can lower your risk of eventually getting thyroid cancer. Potassium iodide blocks the thyroid gland from absorbing too much radioiodine. As a result, the gland stays healthy.
How Does Thyroid Cancer Affect Pregnancy
Thyroid cancer is the second most common cancer diagnosed in pregnant women . Approximately 10% of thyroid cancers develop during pregnancy or within the first year after childbirth. Experts believe fluctuating hormone levels during pregnancy may trigger the cancer.
If you receive a thyroid cancer diagnosis during pregnancy, your healthcare provider can discuss treatment options. Depending on the cancer type and severity, your provider may recommend delaying treatment until after you deliver your baby. If treatment cant wait, most women can safely undergo surgery to remove the cancerous gland. You shouldnt have radioactive diagnostic tests or treatments when youre pregnant or breastfeeding.
Don’t Miss: How To Reset Thyroid To Burn Fat
What Is The Prognosis For People Who Have Thyroid Cancer
Eight out of 10 people who have thyroid cancer develop the papillary type. Papillary thyroid cancer has a five-year survival rate of almost 100% when the cancer is in the gland . Even when the cancer spreads , the survival rate is close to 80%. This rate means that, on average, youre about 80% as likely to live for at least five years after diagnosis as someone who doesnt have metastatic papillary thyroid cancer.
Five-year survival rates for other thyroid cancer types include:
- Follicular: Close to 100% for localized around 63% for metastasized.
- Medullary: Close to 100% for localized around 40% for metastasized.
- Anaplastic: Close to 31% for localized 4% for metastasized.
What Are The Complications Of Thyroid Cancer
Most thyroid cancers respond well to treatment and arent life-threatening.
After thyroid surgery or treatments, your body still needs thyroid hormones to function. Youll need thyroid replacement hormone therapy for life. Synthetic thyroid hormones, such as levothyroxine , take over for the thyroid hormones that your body no longer naturally produces.
Don’t Miss: Function Of The Thyroid Gland In The Endocrine System
What Is Thyroid Cancer
Thyroid cancer develops in the thyroid, a small butterfly-shaped gland at the base of your neck. This gland produces hormones that regulate your metabolism . Thyroid hormones also help control your body temperature, blood pressure and heart rate. Thyroid cancer, a type of endocrine cancer, is generally highly treatable with an excellent cure rate.
Stages Of Thyroid Cancer
Staging describes or classifies a cancer based on how much cancer there is in the body and where it is when first diagnosed. This is often called the extent of cancer. Information from tests is used to find out the size of the tumour, which parts of the organ have cancer, whether the cancer has spread from where it first started and where the cancer has spread. Your healthcare team uses the stage to plan treatment and estimate the outcome .
The most common staging system for thyroid cancer is the TNM system. For most thyroid cancers there are 4 stages. Often the stages 1 to 4 are written as the Roman numerals I, II, III and IV. Generally, the higher the stage number, the more the cancer has spread. Talk to your doctor if you have questions about staging.
When describing the stage, doctors may use the words local, regional or distant. Local means that the cancer is only in the thyroid and has not spread to other parts of the body. Regional means close to the thyroid or around it. Distant means in a part of the body farther from the thyroid. The staging is different for different types of thyroid cancer. Differentiated thyroid cancer, anaplastic thyroid cancer and medullary thyroid cancer each have their own staging. Papillary or follicular thyroid cancer is also classified into to help doctors plan treatment and follow-up.
Recommended Reading: How Do I Check My Thyroid
Medullary Thyroid Cancer Is Sometimes Caused By A Change In A Gene That Is Passed From Parent To Child
The genes in cells carry hereditary information from parent to child. A certain change in the RET gene that is passed from parent to child may cause medullary thyroid cancer.
There is a genetic test that is used to check for the changed gene. The patient is tested first to see if he or she has the changed gene. If the patient has it, other family members may also be tested to find out if they are at increased risk for medullary thyroid cancer. Family members, including young children, who have the changed gene may have a thyroidectomy . This can decrease the chance of developing medullary thyroid cancer.
Thyroid Cancer Types Stages And Treatment Overview
In addition to the material on this page, the Newly Diagnosed section has about 30 subsections related to treatment of different types of thyroid cancer.
Thyroid Cancer Basics: Free 50-page Handbook in
The 2018 Updates to the Staging System for Differentiated Thyroid CancerPapillary, Follicular, Hurthle Cell, and Variants
The following information was obtained from the National Cancer Institute.
What is cancer of the thyroid?
Cancer of the thyroid is a disease in which cancer cells are found in the tissues of the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is at the base of the throat. It has two lobes, one on the right side and one on the left. The thyroid gland makes important hormones that help the body function normally.
Cancer of the thyroid is more common in women than in men. Most patients are between 25 and 65 years old. People who have been exposed to large amounts of radiation, or who have had radiation treatment for medical problems in the head and neck have a higher chance of getting thyroid cancer. The cancer may not occur until 20 years or longer after radiation treatment.
A doctor should be seen if there is a lump or swelling in the front of the neck or in other parts of the neck.
Stages of cancer of the thyroid
The following stages are used for papillary cancers of the thyroid:
Papillary and Follicular Thyroid Cancer in Patients Younger than 45 Years of Age:
Stage I Papillary and Follicular
Medullary Thyroid Cancer
Also Check: If Thyroid Levels Are High
Targeting Of Pi3k/akt Pathway
The PI3K/Akt pathway plays a crucial role in thyroid carcinogenesis, cell dedifferentiation, invasion, and metastasis. The three main players of these pathways are PI3K, Akt, and mTOR. Activating mutations and copy gain in the gene coding for the catalytic subunit of PI3K , and inactivating mutations and hypermethylation of the tumor suppressor gene PTEN have been identified in advanced DTC especially follicular thyroid cancer and ATC. These genetic and epigenetic alterations result in angiogenesis, drug resistance, and thyroid cancer progression and metastasis. The targeting of the PI3K/Akt/mTOR has been an active area of cancer research. Several inhibitors showed promising anti-tumor activity in thyroid cancer cells in vitro and in vivo.
In another phase II clinical trial assessing the efficacy of everolimus in a cohort of patients with advanced thyroid cancer, everolimus was administered at the dose of 10 mg daily. Sixty-five percent of patients with differentiated thyroid cancer showed a stable disease as the best response. Forty-six percent of the patients required a dose reduction because of the toxicity of everolimus. Analysis of the somatic mutations in patients’ samples did not show any association between mutation status and response to everolimus .
Recurrence Of Thyroid Cancer
Although thyroid cancer recurrence is not common, there are many treatment options available if it happens. If a cancer recurrence is detected in the neck lymph nodes, the best course of action is usually an operation to remove the affected node or additional treatment with RAI ablation. In order to determine the best treatment for recurrent thyroid cancer, it is critical to work with an experienced team of thyroid specialists.
Also Check: Treating Thyroid Cancer Without Surgery
What Is A 5
A relative survival rate compares people with the same type and stage of thyroid cancer to people in the overall population. For example, if the 5-year relative survival rate for a specific stage of thyroid cancer is 90%, it means that people who have that cancer are, on average, about 90% as likely as people who dont have that cancer to live for at least 5 years after being diagnosed.
What Are The Possible Side Effects And Complications Of Papillary Thyroid Cancer Treatment
Permanent hypothyroidism is an expected side effect of thyroidectomy and radioiodine therapy. Because of this, youll need to take replacement thyroid hormone medication for the rest of your life if you undergo either or both of these treatments.
Possible complications of thyroid surgery include:
- Accidental removal of or damage to your parathyroid glands, which help regulate your blood calcium levels.
- Damage to your recurrent laryngeal nerve, which runs behind your thyroid gland, resulting in hoarseness and a weak voice.
Potential side effects of radioactive iodine therapy include:
- Small risk of leukemia, breast or bladder cancer.
Also Check: Hashimoto Thyroid Disease Diet Plan
Age As A Continuous Variable
We then calculated the unadjusted and adjusted HRs for age as a continuous variable, again adjusting for the same variables of sex, pathology, and T, N, and M stage. This is shown in Table 4. The adjusted HR was 1.076 indicating that for every additional year the risk of death progressively increased.