Thyroid Cancer

Published on June 11th, 2013 | by Tom


What is Thyroid Cancer, Treatment and Symptoms of Thyroid Cancer

Thyroid cancer is a relatively uncommon type of cancer and most people do very well under treatment of the cancer if found early. It can come back, often many years later. There is no specific cause to thyroid cancer but those exposed to radiation have a greater risk of developing thyroid cancer. This is why x-ray techs and dental assistants are required to wear badges marking how much radiation they are exposed o every year.

Symptoms of Thyroid Cancer

The symptoms of thyroid cancer very tremendously, and the most common symptom is a lump or swelling in your neck which can cause pain. This pain can radiate all the way up to your ears. Trouble swallowing is another symptom and it can lead to trouble breathing or a constant wheezing. If your voice is always horse or if you have a frequent cough unrelated to a cold, you may wish to be checked out. Because your thyroid is located in your neck, this is where the symptoms surface.

Checking for Thyroid Cancer

In order to diagnose thyroid cancer a doctor typically does a biopsy of the lump in your throat. A small piece of the thyroid is removed and the tissue is tested for abnormal growths and cancer margins. This simple biopsy does not require surgery and sometimes the results are not definitive. Then you have other decisions to make and you will do so as led by your doctor. Often surgery is recommended if there is any kind of unclear result while other doctors will prefer to wait and do another biopsy later on. It all depends on how aggressive you wish to be.

Treatment for Thyroid Cancer

Thyroid cancer is treated with surgery to remove the cancerous cells, and most of the time they are in one lump and fairly easy to remove. After the cancerous material has been excised, radioactive iodine will treat the area. This kills any remaining cancer cells and helps stop the reoccurrence. You very rarely have to have radiation therapy or chemotherapy for thyroid cancer. Usually this only happens if the cancer has spread or is diagnosed very late. It can also be required if for some reason not all of the tumor can be removed. The stage of your illness and your age often play a big role in how much treatment you require.

Overall, thyroid cancer is one of the better cancers to develop as it is very treatable. The margins and survival rate is excellent and it is something that you can easily watch for. Much like breast cancer it is one that is better understood than some of the more elusive cancers like pancreatic cancer. You will find that the treatment is simple enough and often you will feel better quickly as your gland will be able to start working properly again. You will need to be monitored for the rest of your life in order to ensure you do not develop a new type of cancer.

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