Who Is Most At Risk
There are several risk factors for thyroid cancer. Thyroid cancer is considered primarily a hereditary type of cancer, so you may notice family history is a common theme.
Populations most at risk of thyroid cancer are:
- Possibly exposed to radiation as a child
- A history of goiters
- A family history of thyroid disease or cancer
Thyroid Cancer Causes And Risk Factors
Its not clear exactly what causes thyroid cancer to develop. However, there are a number of known potential risk factors, some of which can be modified and others that cant. According to the National Cancer Institute, risk factors for developing thyroid cancer include:
Other research led by Dr. Harari is looking at whether certain environmental exposures, including to pesticides and flame retardants, have a link to thyroid cancer.
Life After Thyroid Cancer Surgery #4 Additional Treatments
Most patients with thyroid cancer do not need any further treatment after they have had the appropriate surgery done by an expert thyroid surgeon. The most commonly used treatment after thyroid cancer surgery, however, is radioactive iodine . This treatment works better the younger the patient is. Iodine is used by normal thyroid cells to make thyroid hormone. Thyroid cancers can possess the same type of key hole on the surface of their cell called a symporter that allows iodine to be taken into the cell. Although thyroid cancer rarely produces any significant amounts of thyroid hormone itself, it frequently maintains this iodine pump and ability to take up iodine. In the treatment of thyroid cancer, this can be taken advantage of by having the patient swallow an iodine pill that has been radioactively charged.
The thyroid cancer patient swallows a radioactive iodine form of iodine called iodine- 131 in a liquid or pill form. The radioactive iodine is absorbed through digestion and circulated throughout the body in bloodstream. Thyroid cancer cells can pick up the radioactive iodine wherever they are located in the body. Once taken into the thyroid cancer cells, the radioactive iodine delivers a local radiation treatment in the area where the iodine is concentrated. Most importantly however, a thyroid cancer diagnosis alone is not an indication for RAI treatment.
Read Also: Treatment For Overactive Thyroid Gland
Thyroid Cancer: Survival Rates And Prognosis
After a thyroid cancer diagnosis, theres a lot of information to process. The cancers stage is an important piece of your diagnosis. Staging helps guide thyroid cancer treatment. The cancers stage is also one of factors doctors use to help you understand your thyroid cancer prognosis. In general, thyroid cancer has a better outlook compared to other types of cancers. Heres a look at the survival rates for the different types and stages of thyroid cancer.
How Common Is Thyroid Cancer
The American Cancer Societys most recent estimates for thyroid cancer in the United States for 2022 are:
- About 43,800 new cases of thyroid cancer
- About 2,230 deaths from thyroid cancer
The death rate for thyroid cancer increased slightly from 2009 to 2018 but appears to have stabilized in recent years. Statistics on survival rates for thyroid cancer are discussed in Survival Rates for Thyroid Cancer.
Thyroid cancer is commonly diagnosed at a younger age than most other adult cancers. And women are 3 times more likely to develop thyroid cancer than men.
Until recently, thyroid cancer was the most rapidly increasing cancer in the US, largely due to increased detection. Much of this rise appears to be the result of the use of more sensitive diagnostic procedures, such as CT or MRI scans , which can detect incidental small thyroid nodules that might not otherwise have been found in the past.
Also Check: How To Get My Thyroid Checked
Recurrence After Complete Remission
A tumour recurrence was detected in 35 patients during follow-up. Recurrence occurred after a median of 54 months since diagnosis. Recurrences were detected with serum Tg during suppression therapy in 26, a palpable neck lesion in seven and by imaging techniques in the two other patients. In the 26 patients with raised Tg only, 13 patients had a local recurrence in the neck, of whom two also had lung metastases, two patients showed mediastinal metastases and two patients had only pulmonary metastases. Despite an extensive diagnostic approach, an anatomic substrate for the serum Tg rise was never found in the remaining nine patients who all had Tg values off thyroid hormone treatment below 15 ng/ml.
No additional therapy was given in ten of the 35 patients with recurrent disease. Treatment of the localised recurrences included high-dose 131I , surgery of the neck and external radiotherapy to the neck and mediastinal structures . Most patients received more than one form of treatment. A second complete remission was achieved in 14 of the 35 patients.
Living With Advanced Cancer
Advanced cancer usually means cancer that is unlikely to be cured. During this time palliative care services can help. Most people with thyroid cancer respond well to treatment and do not need to access palliative care services. However, people at any stage of advanced thyroid cancer may benefit from palliative treatment.
Most people continue to have treatment for advanced cancer as part of palliative care, as it helps manage the cancer and improve their day-to-day lives. Many people think that palliative care is for people who are dying but palliative care is for any stage of advanced cancer. There are doctors, nurses and other people who specialise in palliative care.
Treatment may include chemotherapy, radiation therapy or another type of treatment. It can help in these ways:
- Slow down how fast the cancer is growing.
- Shrink the cancer.
- Help you to live more comfortably by managing symptoms, like pain.
Treatment depends on:
- how far it has spread
- your general health
Also Check: Iodine Treatment For Thyroid Cancer
Life After Thyroid Cancer Surgery
Congrats! You have finished the most important step in your thyroid cancer treatment: surgery to remove the disease. Take a few deep breaths and relax. I want to walk you through what your life after thyroid cancer surgery will look like.
Since the 1970s, the incidence of thyroid cancer has doubled. Until recently, thyroid cancer was the fastest growing cancer in the United States, mainly due to our ability to detect these cancers so well . Thyroid cancer is the 5th most common cancer in women. Overall, the 5-year survival rate for people with thyroid cancer is 98%. The 5-year survival rate is almost 100% for papillary, follicular, and medullary thyroid cancers that have not spread outside of the thyroid gland .
The 5-year survival rate for papillary thyroid cancer that has only spread to lymph nodes or tissue in the neck is 99%. For follicular thyroid cancer that only involves the neck, the survival rate is 97%. If there is distant spread to other parts of the body , it is called metastatic disease. The 5-year survival rate for metastatic papillary thyroid cancer is 76%. For metastatic follicular thyroid cancer, the rate is 64%. Medullary and anaplastic thyroid cancers are very rare, making up only 3% of the thyroid cancer cases. They are more aggressive and tend to spread around and outside of the neck more often.
Are There Complementary Therapies I Can Try
While there are no great studies showing that complementary and alternative medicine can cure or treat thyroid cancer, you might find some of them helpful for relieving stress, such as aromatherapy or massage therapy.
Ask your doctor before taking any herbal supplements, and if you are already taking some, be sure to let your provider know what and how much, as some herbs can impact thyroid function or interfere with medications.
Read Also: Doctors Who Specialize In Thyroid
Types Of Thyroid Cancers
There are 3 main types of Thyroid Cancer.
This cancer consists of three types:
- Papillary Cancer
- Follicular Cancer
Papillary Cancer is the primary thyroid cancer. 8 of 10 thyroid cancers are papillary cancers. This cancer develops slowly and mostly spreads to lymph nodes in the neck. Though this is the most recurring cancer it can be treated successfully. There is low risk in this type of cancer and chances of death are seen rarely.
Follicular Cancer is the following, next to papillary cancer. And 1 of 10 is follicular thyroid cancers. It is a common type of cancer where iodine levels in that country are very less. This cancer does not spread out to lymph but this spreads other parts of the body. This cancer is a bit dreadful compared to papillary cancer. But can be treatable good in most of the cases.
Hurthle Cell Cancer is a rare one and only accounts for 3% of thyroid cancers. It is harder to sort out this type and even more difficult to treat.
2. Medullary Thyroid Cancer
Medullary Thyroid Cancer is developed from the C cells in the Thyroid gland. This type of cancers accounts for 4% of Thyroid Cancers. This cancer has a chance to spread to lymph nodes, liver or lungs.
Medullary Thyroid Cancer consists of 2 types
Sporadic MTC mostly develops in adults and mostly affects only one thyroid lobe. This is not an inherited cancer. Sporadic MTC accounts 8 of 10 MTC.
3 Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer
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.
Also Check: Can T Lose Weight Thyroid
Tests For Thyroid Cancer
Your doctor may do some tests to check for thyroid cancer:
- Ultrasound to get detailed information about your thyroid including the size of any thyroid nodule and whether it is full of fluid or solid.
- Blood tests to check your hormone levels and function of the thyroid. Calcitonin levels may also be checked.
- Biopsy if you have a thyroid nodule or enlarged lymph node in your neck, you may need a fine needle aspiration biopsy, to collect a sample of cells and check whether it is cancerous.
Your doctor might ask you to have further tests. These can include:
- CT scans uses x-rays to take pictures of the inside of your body and then compiles them into one detailed, cross-sectional picture.
- PET scans uses an injection of a glucose solution to help cancer cells show up more brightly on the scan.
Symptoms Of Thyroid Cancer
Thyroid cancer usually develops slowly, without many obvious symptoms. However, some people experience one or more of the following:
- a painless lump in the neck
- trouble swallowing
- difficulty breathing
- changes to the voice
- swollen lymph glands in the neck .
Although a painless lump in the neck is a typical sign of thyroid cancer, thyroid lumps are common and turn out to be benign in 90% of adults. Having an underactive or overactive thyroid is not typically a sign of thyroid cancer.
Not everyone with these symptoms has thyroid cancer. If you have any of these symptoms or are worried, always see your doctor.
Read Also: Over The Counter Thyroid Booster
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.
What’s The Prognosis For Stage Iv Thyroid Cancer
If you have stage IV thyroid cancer, you may want to know about your prognosis — an estimate of how serious the disease is and how it will affect you in the future. Your outlook depends on a lot of things, including the type of thyroid cancer you have, your age, and your overall health.
Some people prefer not to learn their prognosis, and that’s OK. But if you do want the information, the best person to ask is your doctor. They know best about your specific health situation and can answer any questions you have.
You May Like: Diabetes And Thyroid Center Of Ft Worth
How Is Thyroid Cancer Diagnosed
If you have an enlarged thyroid nodule or other signs of thyroid cancer, your healthcare provider may order one or more of these tests:
- Blood tests: A thyroid blood test checks hormone levels and gauges whether your thyroid is functioning properly.
- Biopsy: During a fine-needle aspiration biopsy, your healthcare provider removes cells from your thyroid to test for cancer cells. A sentinel node biopsy can determine if cancer cells have spread to lymph nodes. Your provider may use ultrasound technology to guide these biopsy procedures.
- Radioiodine scan: This test can detect thyroid cancer and determine if cancer has spread. You swallow a pill containing a safe amount of radioactive iodine . Over a few hours, the thyroid gland absorbs the iodine. Your healthcare provider uses a special device to measure the amount of radiation in the gland. Areas with less radioactivity need more testing to confirm the presence of cancer.
- Imaging scans:Magnetic resonance imaging , computed tomography and positron emission tomography scans can detect thyroid cancer and cancer spread.
Life Expectancy In Differentiated Thyroid Carcinoma
A KaplanMeier plot of the cumulative proportion of deaths, both overall and disease specific, against standardised survival time is shown in Fig. 3. The expectation for the age- and gender-matched general population is also shown. The median standardised survival time in the whole cohort was 0.88 .
The cumulative proportion of death at half standardised survival time was 0.165 , which is above the proportion of maximally 0.10 in the age-matched general population. At a standardised survival time of 1, two-thirds of all patients had died, about half of them from thyroid cancer. Of those still alive, some had persistent disease.
In order to visualise the impact of persistent disease and of the treatment per se on life expectancy, the patients were divided into those with persistent disease at the latest visit and those without such evidence. Plots of proportion of death against standardised survival time are given for both groups in Fig. 4. The expected curves for a median life expectancy of 38 years in the year 1990 for both genders of the general population are indicated for comparison.
Median standardised survival time was 0.60 in persistent disease and about 80% of these patients died from thyroid cancer. The standardised survival time ranged from 0 to above 1.
Don’t Miss: What Are The Signs Of Thyroid Cancer Returning
Clinical And Pathological Characteristics
The demographic data of the 23 included patients are presented in Tables 1,2. Among the 23 patients, 11 were men and 12 were women, with a median age of 58.3 years . A total of 19 patients had symptoms. Thirteen patients had a palpable mass, 4 had localised pain, and 2 had dyspnoea. Overall, 9 patients had distant metastasis .
Where Can I Find Thyroid Cancer Support
Your biggest sources of support can be your friends and family. Consider taking a trusted friend or relative to your appointments to take notes and ask questions you might not think of right away.
Additionally, hospitals will often have information on support groups in your area both virtual and IRL . The doctor treating your cancer may also be able to suggest some of these.
The Thyroid Cancer Survivors Association has information and support for both newly diagnosed people and those who have been on their cancer journey for longer.
You can also visit and join the American Cancer Societys Cancer Survivors Network.
Read Also: Treating Thyroid Cancer Without Surgery
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.
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.
Read Also: How Do You Develop Thyroid Cancer
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 Types Of Thyroid Cancer
Thyroid cancer is classified based on the type of cells from which the cancer grows. Thyroid cancer types include:
- Papillary: Up to 80% of all thyroid cancers are papillary. This cancer type grows slowly. Although papillary thyroid cancer often spreads to lymph nodes in the neck, the disease responds very well to treatment. Papillary thyroid cancer is highly curable and rarely fatal.
- Follicular: Follicular thyroid cancer accounts for up to 15% of thyroid cancer diagnoses. This cancer is more likely to spread to bones and organs, like the lungs. Metastatic cancer can be more challenging to treat.
- Medullary: About 2% of thyroid cancers are medullary. A quarter of people with medullary thyroid cancer have a family history of the disease. A faulty gene may be to blame.
- Anaplastic: This aggressive thyroid cancer is the hardest type to treat. It can grow quickly and often spreads into surrounding tissue and other parts of the body. This rare cancer type accounts for about 2% of thyroid cancer diagnoses.
You May Like: Thyroid Eye Disease After Thyroidectomy