Types Of Thyroid Cancer | Thyroid Cancer Treatments - Manipal Hospitals
Thyroid Cancer Treatment
ranks as the 8thmost common cancer in the United States, affecting 3.5 per 100,000 people each year, according to the National Cancer Institute.
However, the cancer kills only 1 per 200,000 people each year.
About 98 percent of people with thyroid cancer survive for at least 5 years after being diagnosed with the disease.
Part of the reason for this high survival rate is that thyroid cancer is usually caught early, before it has had a chance to spread beyond the throat.
In fact, about 68 percent of thyroid cancer diagnoses occur when the cancer is still confined to the thyroid, according to the National Cancer Institute (NCI).
There are several different options for treating thyroid cancer. The most effective treatment will depend on the stage and type of thyroid cancer you have.
Thyroid Cancer Surgery
Surgery is the primary treatment for thyroid cancer (except for some cases of anaplastic carcinoma, an aggressive type of thyroid cancer that often spreads to other areas of the body).
If the cancer is only in one lobe of your thyroid gland, your surgeon may opt for a lobectomy.
In this procedure, the surgeon makes an incision in your neck to expose the thyroid, then cuts out the affected lobe — often along with the strip of tissue that connects the two lobes.
The most common thyroid cancer surgery, however, is a thyroidectomy, in which the entire gland is removed.
Your surgeon may also remove the lymph nodes in the back of your neck if your thyroid cancer has spread to them.
Thyroid cancer surgery may cause the following side effects:
- Temporary or permanent voice hoarseness
- Low blood calcium levels (from damage to the nearby parathyroid glands)
- Excessive bleeding, blood clots, or wound infections
Also, after undergoing a thyroidectomy, you will have to take daily thyroid hormone pills.
Radiation therapy may be used in combination with surgery to destroy any cancer cells still left in the body.
In this procedure, which is often used if the cancer has spread beyond the thyroid gland, doctors treat the area with high-energy X-rays or another type of radiation, using either an external machine or an internally-placed device.
Radiation therapy may cause the following side effects:
- Temporary skin changes (similar to a sunburn)
- Throat issues such as trouble swallowing, dry mouth, and hoarseness
Alternatively, your doctor may use a special radiation technique called radioactive iodine (RAI) therapy.
This therapy makes use of the fact that the thyroid gland naturally absorbs nearly all of the iodine in your body, including radioactive forms of iodine.
When you swallow RAI capsules or fluids, your thyroid tissues — including cancer cells that have spread to other parts of the body — absorbs the RAI, which destroys the cells.
Psooible side effects of RAI therapy include temporary:
- Tenderness and swelling of the neck or salivary glands
- Nausea and vomiting
- Dry mouth and changes in taste
A few different treatments for thyroid cancer involve taking medications.
In thyroid hormone therapy, drugs are used to stop the body from producing thyroid-stimulating hormone.
This helps slow the growth of thyroid cancer and prevent the cancer from returning after treatment.
As with other types of cancer, chemotherapy is often used to treat thyroid cancer that has spread to other areas of the body.
However, most chemotherapy drugs affect other rapidly-dividing cells in the body that aren't cancerous, leading to a number of side effects, including hair loss, diarrhea, and fatigue.
A newer kind of chemotherapy — targeted therapy — uses drugs that interfere with specific molecules that cancer cells need to grow.
Though less damaging to the body than regular chemotherapy, targeted therapy drugs can also cause numerous side effects.
Video: Radioactive Iodine Therapy to Treat Thyroid Cancer
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