Know More About Thyroid Cancer
Cancer is a life-threatening disease in which some of the body cells grow out of control and spread to other parts of the body. There are many types of cancer, depending on the part of the body affected. The most subtle type is thyroid cancer. You will get to know more about it through this article.
What is Thyroid Cancer?
Thyroid cancer is a solid tumor cancer that usually appears as a nodule or mass in the thyroid gland. The thyroid is a quarter-sized, butterfly-shaped gland that is located at the front base of your throat. It produces hormones that control the body’s temperature, metabolism, and heart rate.
Thyroid cancer occurs when bad cells multiply too fast for the immune system to control. It affects three times more women than men and is most common after the age of 30, although it can occur in any age group. Thyroid cancer tends to be more aggressive in older people.
Types of Thyroid Cancer
There are four main types of thyroid cancer. These are-
Papillary cancer is the most common form of thyroid cancer. It usually affects 80% of thyroid cancer patients, especially women under the age of 40.
It is the second most common type of thyroid cancer. It tends to affect older people and is less common in children.
Medullary thyroid cancer
This type is rare as it accounts for about 3% of all thyroid cancer cases. Unlike other types of thyroid cancer, medullary cancer can be tender to the touch and painful.
This is the rarest and most deadly type of thyroid cancer. It usually affects old people over 60 years old and has a very low cure rate.
Risk Factors of Thyroid Cancer
Some factors that can increase your risk of thyroid cancer are-
- A family history of a faulty gene (RET gene).
- Having a thyroid disorder such as enlarged thyroid gland (goitre) or thyroid nodules.
- Exposure to some forms of radiation, such as radiation therapy treatment in childhood.
Symptoms of Thyroid Cancer
The most common early sign of thyroid cancer is an unusual nodule, lump or swelling in the neck. Most thyroid nodules are usually benign, but it’s important to see a doctor for any unusual growths. Other early symptoms of thyroid cancer include-
- Hoarseness or other voice changes.
- Swelling in the neck.
- Persistent cough not caused by a cold.
- Neck pain.
- Breathing problems.
- Difficulty swallowing.
Diagnosis for Thyroid Cancer
To diagnose thyroid cancer, the doctor may order several tests. These include-
Blood tests check the levels of hormones (including T3 and T4) and thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). Blood tests can also help identify non-cancerous thyroid disorders such as hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) or hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid).
Ultrasound is a painless scan that produces images of the internal organs. It takes about 20 minutes. This can help you determine if the lump in your neck is firm or filled with fluid. It will also show whether lymph nodes are involved.
The most common type of biopsy is called fine needle aspiration, or the doctor may perform a hemithyroidectomy. Under this, the doctor removes a piece of thyroid tissue for examination under a microscope
This test is usually done when a blood test shows an overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism). A small amount of radioactive liquid (such as iodine) is injected into a vein in your arm before the gamma camera scan starts. The amount of radioactive fluid absorbed by the thyroid is then measured.
CT, MRI, or PET scans are other tests to check if cancer has spread to other parts of the body.
Side Effects of Thyroid Cancer Treatment
These side effects may include
- Mouth sores.
- Loss of appetite.
- Hair loss.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Easy bruising or bleeding.
- Increased risk of infection due to low white blood cell count.
Treatment for Thyroid Cancer
Treatment depends on the type and stage of the thyroid cancer
In some cases of thyroid cancer, your medical team can talk to you about palliative care. Palliative care aims to improve your quality of life by relieving cancer symptoms.
Palliative care not only slows the spread of thyroid cancer but also reduces pain and relieves other symptoms.
Surgery is the most common treatment method for thyroid cancer. Thyroidectomy is the surgical removal of all or part of the thyroid gland, which is located at the front of the neck.
Thyroid hormone replacement therapy is given as a daily pill to replace the thyroid hormones (thyroxine or T4) that your body can no longer make after surgery. If you have had thyroid surgery, you will need thyroxine replacement therapy for the rest of your life because it is very important for your body to function normally.
Radioactive iodine treatment
This treatment is a form of internal radiation therapy. It is usually taken in the form of a gel tablet. It destroys any remaining cancer cells after surgery. Talk to your doctor about the safety precautions needed for this type of treatment.
Radiation Therapy (radiotherapy)
External radiation therapy (using high-energy X-rays) may be done after surgery, especially if cancer has spread to the lymph nodes in the neck or for thyroid cancers that are less sensitive to radioactive iodine treatment.
Sometimes, chemotherapy is used to treat thyroid cancer if it is not responding to radioactive iodine treatment. It is usually given as a drug that is injected into a vein.
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- Panchakarma therapy.
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Why Choose Ayurveda?
Ayurveda cures not only the symptoms but also the root problem. Ayurveda is a form of holistic medicine that focuses on improving the balance between body and mind. Ayurveda is a blend of three body types that include physical, mental, and emotional aspects. These are known as “Doshas” in the Ayurvedic language. These doshas are further classified as vata, pitta, and Kapha. Using ayurvedic treatment cleanses, detoxifies, and balances body doshas which ensures a complete cure against severe diseases.