Thyroid cancer occurs in the cells of the thyroid gland — a butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of neck, just below your Adam’s apple. Thyroid gland produces hormones that regulate your heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, weight and other physiological functions.
Thyroid cancer might not cause any symptoms at first. But as it grows, it can cause pain and swelling in neck.
Several types of thyroid cancer exist. Some grow very slowly and others can be very aggressive. Most cases of thyroid cancer can be cured with treatment.
Signs and Symptoms:
Thyroid cancer typically doesn’t cause any signs or symptoms early in the disease. As thyroid cancer grows, it may cause:
- A swelling (nodule) that can be felt through the skin neck
- Voice changes, including increasing hoarseness
- Difficulty swallowing
- Pain in neck and throat
- Enlarged lymph nodes in neck
Types of Thyroid Cancer
Thyroid cancer is classified into types based on type of cells found in the tumor. The type of thyroid cancer is considered in determining treatment and prognosis.
Types of thyroid cancer include:
- Papillary thyroid cancer.The most common form of thyroid cancer, papillary thyroid cancer arises from follicular cells, which produce and store thyroid hormones. Papillary thyroid cancer can occur at any age, but most often it affects people ages 30 to 50. Papillary thyroid cancer and follicular thyroid cancer together as differentiated thyroid cancer.
- Follicular thyroid cancer.Follicular thyroid cancer also arises from the follicular cells of the thyroid. It usually affects people older than age 50. Hurthle cell cancer is a rare and potentially more aggressive type of follicular thyroid cancer.
- Anaplastic thyroid cancer.Anaplastic thyroid cancer is a rare type of thyroid cancer that begins in the follicular cells. It grows rapidly and is very difficult to treat. Anaplastic thyroid cancer typically occurs in adults age 60 and older.
- Medullary thyroid cancer.Medullary thyroid cancer begins in thyroid cells called C cells, which produce the hormone calcitonin. Elevated levels of calcitonin in the blood can indicate medullary thyroid cancer at a very early stage. Certain genetic syndromes (MEN syndrome) increase the risk of medullary thyroid cancer, although this genetic link is uncommon.
- Other rare types.Other very rare types of cancer that start in the thyroid include thyroid lymphoma, which begins in the immune system cells of the thyroid, and thyroid sarcoma, which begins in the connective tissue cells of the thyroid.
Factors that may increase the risk of thyroid cancer include:
- Female sex.Thyroid cancer occurs more often in women than in men.
- Exposure to high levels of radiation.Radiation therapy treatments to the head and neck increase the risk of thyroid cancer.
- Certain inherited genetic syndromes.Genetic syndromes that increase the risk of thyroid cancer include familial medullary thyroid cancer, multiple endocrine neoplasia, Cowden’s syndrome and familial adenomatous polyposis.
A doctor may use a variety of diagnostic tests to confirm the presence of a salivary gland tumor and to determine if the growth is malignant, including a complete medical history and physical exam, FNAC/ biopsy, and imaging tests.
The test includes:
- Medical history: This includes symptoms and signs you may have noticed, any other health conditions, medications taking by patients.
- Physical examination: This includes examination of neck and a look for additional symptoms.
- Blood invetigations:
- Laryngoscopy: To find the vocal cords movements.
- FNAC or Biopsy: FNAC test helps to check the cells of a growth or tumor for signs of cancer under a microscope. Biopsy is required in selected cases of thyroid swelling.
- Imaging test:
- X-ray neck or chest.
- Ultrasound: An ultrasound uses sound waves to create a picture of the internal organs.
- Computed tomography CT scan: Not always required
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): in selected cases
- PET-CT scan: Not always required.
Thyroid scan: After surgery to find out residual thyroid tissue
Surgery: Total thyroidectomy (complete removal of thyroid gland) and lymph node dissection
Radio Iodine Therapy: After surgery if any residual thyroid tissue is remained, it is treated with radioiodine.
*Urinary bladder cancer
*Penile and urethral cancers
*Hereditary cancer syndrome
*Gall bladder cancer