What You Should Know About Thyroid Cancer

The big C-word can be scary for anyone, but knowing more about the body helps empower you with knowledge, so you can make smart decisions about your health. How you approach treatment is up to you. First, make sure you know what youíre dealing with. Today Iím going to share some important things to know about thyroid cancer.

Whatís the Thyroid?

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland that sits below your the laryngeal prominence, known as the ďAdam’s appleĒ in men. Large lobes of the gland rest on either side of the trachea with a small portion connecting the two crossing the middle. Your thyroid is a part of your endocrine system, which is your hormone system.

The thyroid takes up iodine from your food and turns it into thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). These hormones have a direct impact on the basal metabolic rate. It affects things like body temperature, weight gain, heart rate, growth, and brain development. Calcitonin is the third hormone produced in the thyroid gland, which is part of calcium and bone metabolism.

Symptoms of Thyroid Cancer

All cancers are groups of cells that have undergone genetic mutations and multiply rapidly. Itís still unclear what causes thyroid cancer. You might be alerted to seek a physician if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • An unusual lump that can be felt through the skin on either side of the neck
  • Changes in your voice like hoarseness or difficulty speaking
  • Pain or tenderness in your neck or throat surrounding the thyroid area
  • Troubles with swallowing
  • Swollen lymph nodes not associated with other illness

Types of Thyroid Cancer

There are several types of thyroid cancer, and some are more common than others.

Papillary Thyroid Cancer

This is the most common form of thyroid cancer and can remain asymptomatic for a period of time. The cancer arises from with the cells that within the thyroid that produce the hormones. This type occurs most often for those between the ages of 30 and 50. And itís more common in women than men.

Follicular Thyroid Cancer

Follicular thyroid cancer†starts in the follicular cells of the thyroid. Itís considered a more aggressive form of thyroid cancer compared to papillary thyroid cancer. It is more common in those over the age of 50.

Medullary Thyroid Cancer

This is most often discovered by a lump and remains asymptomatic with no signs of hypo- or hyperthyroidism. It starts in the C cells where calcitonin is produced. Blood tests can be done to detect these elevated levels of calcitonin as an early indicator.

Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer and Thyroid Lymphoma

These are two†rare forms of thyroid cancer. Both occur in older adults. Each one expands rapidly and is difficult to treat.

Thyroid Cancer Treatment

The common types of thyroid cancers are curable through various treatments like surgery with the removal of the thyroid, either partial or total, or removal of surrounding lymph nodes.

Surgery is the most common form of treatment. Itís usually then followed with hormone therapy to replaced lost hormones as well as radioactive iodine treatment to remove any remaining cancer.

Other common thyroid cancer treatment options include chemotherapy and radiation.

Related at Care2

Image via Thinkstock

36 comments

heather g
heather g3 days ago

At least there are obvious signs of disease.

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Colin C
Colin C6 days ago

Thanks for the information

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hELEN h
hELEN hEARFIELD7 days ago

tyfs

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Camilla V
Camilla Vaga8 days ago

thx

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Uddhab K
Uddhab Khadka8 days ago

Thank you.

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Peggy B
Peggy B8 days ago

It also runs in families. My daughter in law diagnosed herself at the age of 29. She is a nurse practicioner and having 3 other people in her family with it over the years knew what to watch for. It was caught early and one week after the tests confirmed the diagnosis she had it removed. That was 8 years ago and she is still cancer free.

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Val M
Val M8 days ago

tyfs

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Angela K
Angela K8 days ago

Thanks for sharing

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Linda Wallace
Linda Wallace9 days ago

Thank you.

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Christine D
Christine D9 days ago

My ex had his thyroid removed years ago after his specialist told him he had tiny nodules on his thyroid and it could turn to cancer. If I knew then what I know now, I would have discouraged him from doing that. There are so many more natural treatments coming out that removal, chemo and radiation should be the last options, not the first.

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