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Thyroid Cancer

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of your neck, right above Adam’s apple. It is responsible for regulating the heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and body weight. Thyroid cancer occurs in the cells of the thyroid gland. Thyroid cancer is usually treatable even at advanced stages because there are effective treatments that give chance for a full recovery and in certain cases, surgeries can cure it too.

Causes of Thyroid Cancer

  • Lodine Deficiency – If you don’t get a sufficient amount of iodine in your diet, you could be at a higher risk of developing thyroid cancer
  • Inherited Genetic Syndrome – Sometimes thyroid cancer can be a result of the inheritance of abnormal genes
  • Radiation Exposure – If your neck or head was exposed to radiation treatment as a child, you might be at a higher risk of developing thyroid cancer

Symptoms of Thyroid Cancer

  • Neck or throat pain
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Hoarseness
  • Vocal changes
  • Cough
  • Lump in the neck region

Prevention of Thyroid Cancer

  • Avoid radiation to treat less serious diseases
  • Get genetic tests done to look for gene mutation responsible for thyroid cancer

Diagnosis of Thyroid Cancer

  • Physical Exam – In this, the doctor examines the neck and looks for thyroid nodules
  • Blood Tests – Blood tests help the doctor determine whether or not the thyroid gland is functioning properly
  • Biopsy – The doctor inserts a fine needle through the skin into your thyroid nodules and takes a sample of suspicious tissues and studies it further in the lab
  • Imaging tests – Ultrasounds, MRIs, CT Scans might be done to determine whether cancer has spread to other parts of the body

Treatment of Thyroid Cancer

  • Surgery – Most people suffering from thyroid cancer undergo surgery to remove the thyroid. The kind of surgery required might be decided on the type, size, location, and metastasizes of cancer. In some cases, only the thyroid tissue might be removed whereas in some cases the removal of either half or the entire thyroid gland might be required
  • Thyroid Hormone Therapy – After the removal of thyroid tissues, the doctor may ask you to take thyroid hormone medication for life to make up for the missing hormone in the body
  • Radiation Therapy – Radiation therapy uses high-energy radiation like X-rays and protons for killing the cancer cells or halting their growth. It is usually recommended if surgery is not an option
  • Chemotherapy – This treatment uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells. It does this either by killing the cancer cells or by preventing their further division. It can be done either intravenously or orally. The drugs then travel across the body, killing the rapidly multiplying cancer cells
  • Targeted Drug Therapy – Target therapy aims at specific abnormalities that are present within the cancer cells. It uses drugs that are designed specifically to target the tumor cells