Detailed informations about Thyroid Cancer

Annually, about 56, 000 patients suffer from thyroid cancer in the U.S. Approximately, 60,220 thyroid cancer cases are reported in the year 2013.

In this chapter, everything you need to know about thyroid cancer is stated here.

What is thyroid cancer?

Thyroid cancer is an uncommon disease related to the endocrine and is located in the neck. The cancer triggers when unwanted cells start to grow inside your thyroid gland.

The thyroid

The human thyroid gland is located inside your neck near the throat; it is a part of the endocrine system. Inside your thyroid is a butterfly-like shaped gland wrapped around the wind pipe—thyroid gland.

The thyroid gland

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This gland consists of secreting hormones which serves a lot of functions for the entire human body such as:

  • Heart rate regulation
  • Blood pressure
  • Body temperature
  • Metabolism
  • Distributes energy within the body which aid in functioning the body normally

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Image source : Wikipedia by author Cancer Research UK shared under CC BY-SA 4.0

Different causes of thyroid cancer

Even experts do not know the main causes of thyroid cancer. One thing for sure, this type of cancer, just like any other cancer, some unwanted cells trigger inside the body.

Asides that, below are the different causes of thyroid cancer:

  • Family members and relatives who suffered goiters.
  • Family transmitted disease
  • Exposure to radiation

Thyroid cancer symptoms

There are different signs of thyroid cancer which a person can identify early. Below are the following:

  • Swelling of the throat
  • Neck lump
  • Nodule lump (Detected via examination)
  • Neck and ear aches
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Constant panting
  • Rough voice
  • Coughing constantly

However, some people do not identify any of the following symptoms.

Different types of thyroid cancer

Bet you did not know, there are different types of thyroid cancer.

As listed below are the most common ones:

Mixed papillary thyroid cancer

This is the most common type of cancer; it is also called as papillary thyroid cancer. About 80% of people suffer from papillary thyroid cancer.

  • Papillary cells ensemble that of human fingers
  • Too much exposure from radiation causes the tumor to develop
  • Age range: 30 up to 50 years old
  • Most women are affected from this disease
  • Has mild symptoms
  • Spreads beyond the neck only

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Image source : Wikipedia by author Nephron shared under CC BY-SA 3.0

Since this type of cancer is not aggressive, most people suffering from this disease are being cured.

Follicular thyroid cancer

This is the second most common type of thyroid cancer. It is also called as Hurthle cell thyroid cancer. It slowly triggers inside the follicular cells. About 15% of people suffer from this type of cancer.

However, if the disease is detected early, follicular thyroid cancer can be cured immediately.

  • Sphere-like shaped follicular cells
  • Age range: 40 up to 60 years old
  • The symptoms approach are more aggressive for the elderly
  • Most women are affected from this disease
  • Cancer cells may infect your blood vessels. Furthermore, this will affect your bones and lung tissues.

Medullary thyroid cancer

This type of cancer is not a common disease however, it is a family transmitted disease. About 10% of people suffer from this type of cancer.

  • Both men and women are affected correspondingly
  • Age range: 40 up to 50 years old
  • The cancer triggers in C cells, the cause of an irregular increase calcitonin is a primary sign.
  • Cancer cells trigger slowly however, it spreads throughout the human body.
  • Not inherited

If Medullary thyroid cancer is diagnosed early… this can easily be cured.

Anaplastic thyroid cancer

This is the least common type of thyroid cancer. The cancer cells trigger inside the thyroid’s follicular cells, the cells are fully damaged and destructed. About 5% of people suffer from this type of cancer.

  • Common among the elderly people ages 65 years old and above
  • Women are affected more the men
  • It may be least common but the symptoms are aggressive

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Image source : Wikipedia by author James Heilman, MD. shared under CC BY-SA 3.0

Thyroid Cancer Treatment

Worry not, thyroid cancer is curable. If detected earlier, it can be prevented easily. In this chapter, several medications and treatments for thyroid cancer will be tackled.

Medicines for thyroid gland cancer

The right medicine to cure patients varies from the type of thyroid cancer they have. It also depends on the age range, nodule size, and the cancer’s invasive stage.

Listed below are the following medicinal treatments for people who suffer from thyroid cancer:

TSH (Thyroid stimulating hormone) suppression therapy

This type of therapy slows down the growing process of cancer cells inside the thyroid gland. However, experts disagree about the medicine’s effectivity to cure thyroid gland cancer.

The following side effects are as follows:

  • Excessive perspiration
  • Diarrhea
  • Nervousness
  • Insomnia
  • Irregular heart beats

You may ask your doctor to ensure if this treatment is suitable for your case.

Thyroid hormone medicine

This serves as a medicine for people who suffer from hypothyroidism, whose thyroid does not function normally or does not function anymore. This medicine substitutes the missing hormones of the thyroid gland. In addition, the people whose thyroid gland had been removed surgically are required to take thyroid replacement pills for a lifetime.

Thyroid hormone medicine is prescribed by the doctor after a blood test shows that you have hypothyroidism.

This medicine is taken orally. Take note that the dosage varies from the age range and the cancer’s stage.

Thyroid hormone medicine is also recommended for the following:

  • Goiter
  • Mild hypothyroidism

Effects of thyroid hormone medicine:

  • Increases energy
  • Developed mental functions
  • Stimulates blood regulation
  • Improves the digestive system
  • Cures goiter
  • Lowers down cholesterol
  • For children, helps in normalizing growth development

External radiation therapy

This therapy is applicable for any type and stage of thyroid cancer which cannot be treated by means of surgery.

This medicine is performed using a machine with high energy levels. The radiation is directed at the patient’s neck or where there are thyroid tissues detected.

External radiation therapy is also used to prevent cancer cells from developing.

Effects of External radiation therapy:

  • Relieves bone pain
  • Destroys cancer cells

Side effects of External radiation therapy:

  • Sore throat
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Skin especially on the neck tends to become dry and red in appearance
  • Tiredness

Radioactive iodine therapy

This type of medication is performed after surgery to destroy the remaining thyroid tissues. This medicine is usually in a form of liquid and/or capsule.

Exclude the radioactive iodine’s radiation to cause cancer. For this type of procedure does not, in any way, increase the levels of cancer cells in the body.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is a type of medicine to destroy the cancer cells in the thyroid gland.

There are different types of chemotherapy, below are as follows:

  • Systemic chemotherapy- injected to the patient’s veins.
  • Intraperitoneal chemotherapy- direct input into the intestinal cavity using a catheter.
  • Intravesical chemotherapy- direct input into the bladder or any organ using a catheter.
  • Chemotherapy injection shots
  • Topical chemotherapy
  • Oral chemotherapy

However, take note of the following side effects during the process:

  • Nausea
  • Permanent infertility
  • Fatigue

Homemade treatments for thyroid cancer

Bet you did not know, thyroid cancer can also be treated by means of homemade procedures. There are various treatments found inside the household to cure it.

Below are the following homemade treatments for thyroid cancer.

For nausea and vomiting

Take anti-nausea medicines over-the-counter or as your doctor recommends.

Below are the non-prescriptive medicines you need to purchase:

  • Meclizine
  • Dimenhydrinate
  • Anti-histamine

Asides from medicine you can also eat the following:

  • Candy
  • Gum
  • Peppermint tea
  • Ginger

For tiredness or over-fatigue

Medical treatments for thyroid cancer makes a person feel tired afterwards. All you need to do is get enough sleep or simply take a rest.

Also, you must eat the following to boost your energy:

  • Foods rich in good fat, vitamins, calories, proteins, and minerals.
  • Drink a lot of water
  • Soups

There are also activities to reduce tiredness such as:

  • Swimming
  • Yoga
  • Brisk walking

Bet you did not know, there are also foods and activities which contribute to a person’s tiredness. Avoid taking the following below:

  • Drinking coffee
  • Smoking cigarettes, especially during the afternoon
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Avoid afternoon naps and/or sleeping during afternoon
  • Avoid taking too much time lying on your bed

For chapped lips and dehydrated mouth

You must drink water regularly. Asides that, below are the following homemade treatments to keep your mouth and lips moist without the cavities:

  • Sugar-free candy
  • Sugar-free chewing gum
  • Lemonade juice and/or lemon fruit
  • Dill pickles
  • Tart liquids

You can also purchase saliva substitutes which are available in drug stores.

Healthy eating and getting enough sleep aids in controlling the symptoms for thyroid cancer.

Medical operations for thyroid cancer

There are some cases of thyroid cancer where homemade and self-curing are not effective anymore.

In this chapter, you will be guided on the specialists you need to visit.

Types of medical specialist for thyroid cancer

There are various experts you can head on to diagnose your thyroid cancer.

Below are the following specialists that you need to take note before going to the hospital:

Thyroidologist

A thyroidologist is a doctor who specialize thyroid and endocrine-related diseases.

Surgeon

For cancer patients who need to undergo surgery.

Endocrinologist

For cancer patients who suffer from hormone disorders.

Nuclear medicine doctor

This specialist uses radioactive substances to treat cancer patients.

Medical oncologist

This specialist treats cancer patients with drugs.

Radiation oncologist

This specialist treats cancer patients using radiation therapy.

You can also visit a registered dietitian to consult for the food and beverages you can take for immediate curing and an oncology nurse as well.

Several surgeries to treat thyroid cancer

Even though there are medicines and homemade procedures to treat thyroid cancer, surgeries is the general way to treat it.

Below are the several surgeries to treat thyroid cancer:

Total thyroidectomy

This is the most common type of surgery for thyroid cancer. The entire thyroid gland is removed surgically.

Near-total thyroidectomy

This is usually performed when an experienced surgeon is not around.

For patients with small tumors, the small part of the thyroid gland is removed entirely.

Thyroid lobectomy

For patients who have mild thyroid cancer. Only one lobe of the thyroid gland is removed.

So, whether you like it or not. You may be afraid to go to the hospital and visit a specialist, but this is the least thing you can do to cure thyroid cancer.