Thyroid cancer - Medic Quotes
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Thursday, June 6, 2019

Thyroid cancer

Thyroid cancer is abnormal cell growth that occurs inside the thyroid gland. The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located on the front of the neck. This gland secretes hormones that regulate metabolism, growth, body temperature, heart rate, blood pressure, weight, and others.

There are three types of hormones released by the thyroid gland, including:

  • Triodos I ronin (T3) and t I to ks (T4). Both of these hormones help regulate the body's metabolism. Excess T3 and T4 hormones can make a person become overactive and lose weight. Conversely, if the lack of these two hormones, then someone will feel weak and weight will increase.
  • Calcitonin. This is a type of hormone that functions to regulate calcium levels in the blood and helps the process of strong bone formation. This hormone does not really have a key role in maintaining health because the body also uses other ways of controlling calcium levels in the blood.

Thyroid cancer is a rare type of disease. This condition generally occurs in people aged between 35-39 years and aged 70 years and over. Women have a risk of thyroid cancer three times greater than men. Although the exact cause of thyroid cancer is still unknown, it is possible that this is related to hormonal changes in the female reproductive system.

Thyroid cancer is divided into four types, namely:

  • Papillary carcinoma. This is the most common type of thyroid cancer, which is about 60 percent of all thyroid cancer cases, and usually affects women under 40 years of age.
  • Follicular carcinoma. About 15 percent of thyroid cancer cases are of this type. Follicular carcinoma tends to occur in the elderly.
  • Medullary thyroid carcinoma. This type occurs in about 5-8 percent of all thyroid cancer cases. What distinguishes it from other types is medullary thyroid carcinoma generally affected by hereditary factors.
  • Anaplastic thyroid carcinoma. This is the rarest, but most aggressive type of thyroid cancer. This condition only occurs in 5 percent of all thyroid cancer cases and generally occurs at the age of 60 years and above.

Symptoms of Thyroid Cancer

At the initial stage, thyroid cancer rarely causes symptoms and even tends to not exist at all. However, if it has entered the advanced stage, thyroid cancer is often characterized by the appearance of a lump or swelling in the front of the neck, more precisely under Adam's apple, and usually does not feel painful.

There are several other symptoms that appear after cancer enters an advanced stage, including:

  • Sore throat.
  • Difficulty in swallowing.
  • The voice becomes hoarse and does not improve after a few weeks.
  • Pain in the neck.
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck.

Not all lumps that appear on the thyroid gland are caused by thyroid cancer. Most swelling of the thyroid gland is caused by a condition known as goiter. This condition is caused by hyperthyroidism (too many hormones T3 and T4) or hypothyroidism (lack of hormones T3 and T4).

Risk Factors for Thyroid Cancer

The exact cause of thyroid cancer is still unknown, but there are several factors that can increase the risk of this condition, including:

  • Having thyroid disorders. People who have experienced benign thyroid diseases, such as inflammation of the thyroid gland or goiter, have a greater risk of thyroid cancer than those who have never experienced it.
  • Family health history. Genetic abnormalities are revealed to be the cause of several cases of chronic thyroid carcinoma. The risk of thyroid cancer increases when someone has a family who has had this cancer.
  • Height and weight. The risk of thyroid cancer will increase if a person has excess weight. The risk will also increase in adults with above-average height.
  • Exposure to radiation. Nuclear radiation or radiation from certain medical treatments can increase a person's risk of developing thyroid cancer, especially if the radiation affects the neck and head.
  • Indigestion. If someone has a familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) digestive disorder, he is more at risk of developing thyroid cancer. FAP is a hereditary disease caused by a defective gene.
  • Gender. Women have a risk of thyroid cancer 2-3 times compared to men. This condition may be related to hormones released when a woman experiences menstruation or while pregnant.
  • Acromegaly. This is a rare condition where the body produces too much growth hormone. This condition causes people with acromegaly to be more at risk for thyroid cancer.

It is important to remember that people who have one or several risk factors above will not necessarily suffer from thyroid cancer in the future. In many cases, some people who suffer from thyroid cancer also do not experience the above risk factors.

Diagnosis of Thyroid Cancer

To diagnose thyroid cancer, the doctor will do a physical examination as the initial stage of the examination. The doctor will also ask about the family health history and symptoms experienced by the patient, one of which is hoarseness that does not disappear.

Some advanced tests that can be done to diagnose thyroid cancer are:

  • Thyroid function test. This is a type of blood test that functions to check whether there is a disruption in the function of the thyroid gland, by measuring the levels of thyroid hormones in the blood.
  • Fine needle aspiration cytology. In this test, a very small needle is inserted into a lump in the neck to take tissue samples which are then examined under a microscope. This test can detect the presence of abnormal cells and cancer cells.
  • Scanning This examination needs to be done to ascertain whether cancer that appears has spread outside of the thyroid gland. Scanning can be done through CT scans, ultrasound, or PET (positron emission tomography).
  • Test for hereditary diseases. The doctor may need to do a genetic examination in the patient to look for a gene abnormality that can increase the risk of medullary thyroid cancer.

Treatment of Thyroid Cancer

The type of treatment for thyroid cancer is very dependent on the type and stage of cancer that is suffered Some types of cancer, such as papillary carcinoma, follicular carcinoma, and some medullary thyroid carcinomas, have a better chance of recovery. This type of thyroid cancer is treated by surgical removal of the thyroid gland and may be combined with radiotherapy.

The following are some treatment steps to treat thyroid cancer:

  • Thyroidectomy. This procedure is performed to remove the thyroid gland, either partially (hemithyroidectomy) or in its entirety (total thyroidectomy). This procedure depends on the type and size of thyroid cancer, and whether it has spread to other body parts. Patients are recommended to rest for 2-3 weeks after surgery to avoid activities that give a burden to the neck.
  • Hormone replacement therapy. Patients will not be able to produce hormones that regulate the body's metabolic system after performing a thyroidectomy procedure. Therefore patients will need hormone replacement tablets for the rest of their lives. Regular blood tests need to be done to adjust the dose and monitor hormone levels that are right for the body.
  • Setting calcium levels. Surgery to remove the thyroid gland often affects the parathyroid gland. The parathyroid gland is located near the thyroid gland and functions to regulate blood calcium levels. Therefore, calcium levels must also be considered.
  • Treatment of radioactive iodine. This treatment serves to destroy cancer cells that are still present and prevent them from appearing again after undergoing surgery. Side effects that may occur due to this procedure are nausea, dry mouth, dry eyes, and changing the sense of taste and smell.
  • External radiotherapy. In this procedure, radioactive waves are directed to the affected part of the body. This treatment is usually done to treat cancer in the advanced stage or anaplastic thyroid carcinoma. The duration of radiotherapy itself depends on the type of cancer and its development.
  • Chemotherapy. This procedure is usually only used to treat anaplastic thyroid carcinoma that has spread to other parts of the body. The patient will be given a very powerful drug to kill cancer cells. This treatment cannot cure anaplastic cancer completely, but it can slow the progression of cancer and help relieve symptoms that arise from thyroid cancer.

Complications of Thyroid Cancer

Treated thyroid cancer can reappear, even though the thyroid gland has been removed through a surgical procedure. This can happen because the cancer cells have spread to the outside of the thyroid gland. The reappearance of thyroid cancer usually occurs within five years after surgery, but can also appear decades after initial treatment.

The reappearance of this cancer can occur in the lymph nodes in the neck, thyroid gland tissue that is still left behind during surgery, or in other body parts. To detect signs of recurrence, the doctor will recommend the patient to do a blood test and thyroid scan regularly.

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