Thyroid cancer occurs in cells of the thyroid gland. In case you are wondering what a Thyroid gland is, it is an organ located in the neck region. The gland produces hormones called thyroxine and triiodothyronine that help your body in regulating metabolism, body weight, heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature. Sometimes, when tissues present in thyroid gland grow uncontrollably causing a formation of nodules in the thyroid which eventually results in thyroid cancer. Cancerous nodules may spread in other parts of the neck and develop more quickly if not treated on time.
In most of the cases, there are no symptoms or signs seen at the early stage of thyroid cancer. However, the following symptoms can be seen with the growth of the cancerous tissues-
- Growth of lump in the neck
- Trouble swallowing
- Pain in the neck especially at the front side of the neck
- Voice changes or hoarseness for a long time
- A persistent cough
- Swelling of lymph nodes in the neck
- Feeling trouble while breathing
If you are experiencing all or most of the symptoms mentioned above, you should immediately visit a good oncologist near you for immediate detection and treatment for thyroid cancer.
Thyroid cancer is common in both women and men. People usually have the issue from ages between 30 to 50 years; however, cases of thyroid cancer at a young age has also been often reported. There are no specific reasons or causes of thyroid cancer but there are few conditions given below that may lead to thyroid cancer, directly or indirectly.
- Inherited genetically– If you have a family history of any thyroid cancer, you are more prone to inherit it. Thyroid cancer may pass through DNA so it can pass from a mother or father to their baby. But symptoms cannot be seen at an early age.
- Radiation exposure– As a child, if your neck or head was more exposed to any radiation treatment, then you are at high risk of getting thyroid cancer. Because radiation exposure mostly contributes to cancer growth.
- Deficiency of iodine– Iodine is very much essential for the proper functioning of thyroid gland. If there is a deficiency of iodine in your body, you are highly prone to thyroid cancer. Therefore it is very much essential to include iodine in your daily diet.
Types of Thyroid Cancer
According to medical research, thyroid cancer is of five different types described below-
1. Papillary Thyroid Cancer
Papillary is the most common type of Thyroid cancer accounting for approximately 80 percent of the cases. However, the carcinoma is slow growing, so it is easily treatable with a good prognosis.
2. Follicular Thyroid Cancer
This type of thyroid cancer occurs in the follicular cells of the thyroid gland. This cancer spreads quickly into the lymph nodes and can also spread through the blood vessels to other organs, like lungs or the bones. Follicular thyroid cancer is mostly found in people above the age of 50 years. It is seen more frequently in people with an inadequate dietary intake of iodine.
3. Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer
A rare yet most aggressive type of thyroid cancer because it spreads quickly to other parts of the neck and body.
4. Medullary Thyroid cancer
This type of thyroid cancer occurs in non-thyroid cells that are found in thyroid glands. This cancer is more likely to pass among family members genetically. Medullary thyroid cancer can be easily diagnosed at an early stage because when this cancer occurs in the thyroid gland, it produces calcitonin and carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA), so your cancer specialist can quickly diagnose it with a blood test.
5. Hürthle Cell Thyroid Cancer or Oxyphil Cell Thyroid Cancer
It is a subtype of follicular carcinoma and arises from a particular type of follicular cell. They are much more likely to spread to lymph nodes than other follicular thyroid cancers.
Most of the thyroid cancers are curable. Follicular and Papillary thyroid cancers are most common, and they can be treated very easily and has a faster recovery rate. Both these kinds of cancers are treated by completely removing the lobe in the thyroid gland that shows an abnormal cell growth or carcinoma. Patients with age less than 50 who are suffering from follicular or papillary thyroid cancer can have a faster recovery if cancer is treated correctly on time. About 98% of people with these two common thyroid cancers remain alive even after 5 to 6 years.
Medullary thyroid cancer tends to spread to huge part of lymph nodes at a very early stage. Therefore, it demands extensive surgical procedures that need to be performed by expert thyroid surgeons. To operate medullary thyroid cancer, the surgeons have to entirely remove the thyroid gland as well as the affected lymph nodes.
Anaplastic thyroid cancer which is the least common kind of thyroid cancer is impossible to treat if not diagnosed at an early stage. This cancer may lead to untimely and sudden death. There are very fewer chances of treating and curing this kind of cancer, and it can be done with radiation therapy and chemotherapy only in the case if the tumor can be removed completely and cancer has not spread to other parts of the body.