Thyroid cancer: symptoms, types and treatment

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Thyroid cancer is a condition where thyroid cells grow and reproduce without control, which can affect the functioning of the gland. This cancer is characterized by the palpation of a nodule or bulk in the body, and in most cases, it has a high probability of cure when the treatment begins early.

This type of cancer is more common in women and can appear between 30 and 60 years of age. It is important that before the appearance of a ball in the body or any other associated symptom, an endocrinologist is consulted so that he can indicate the performance of diagnostic tests that allow identifying if there is any problem in the thyroid, in order to start the most appropriate treatment.

The symptoms that can indicate the development of thyroid cancer are:

  1. The presence of a nodule or a ball in the cuellowhich normally grows rapidly;
  2. Inflammation in the skin due to increased lymph nodes;
  3. Pain in the front of the throat that it can radiate to the ears;
  4. snore u other voice changes;
  5. difficulty breathing as if something stuck in the throat;
  6. constant tone who is not accompanied by a cold or flu;
  7. Difficulty swallowing the sensation of something stuck in the throat.

However, these symptoms can also indicate other less serious problems such as gastroesophageal reflux, respiratory infections, problems with the vocal cords, and even cysts or nodules in the thyroid, which are usually benign and do not represent any risk for health, which may result. be evaluated because in most cases thyroid cancer does not produce symptoms.

See what are the signs that can indicate other changes in the thyroid.

To diagnose thyroid cancer, an endocrinologist must be consulted to observe the individual’s skin and identify alterations such as swelling or pain, which may indicate the presence of a cancer. However, it is also important to carry out a blood test to check the levels of TSH, T3, T4, thyroglobulin and calcitonin hormones, which, if altered, could indicate changes or problems with the thyroid.

Furthermore, it is necessary to perform an ultrasound of the thyroid gland and a fine needle aspiration (FNA) puncture, to confirm the presence of malignant cells in the gland, which really determines whether it is cancer.

People diagnosed with low risk thyroid cancer usually present normal values ​​in blood tests, so it is important to perform a biopsy whenever the doctor tells you to, if these indicate an inconclusive result, they must be repeated periodically until proven that it is a benign nodule.

Sometimes, the certainty that it is a thyroid cancer only occurs after the surgery to remove the nodule that was sent to the analysis laboratory.

There are different types of thyroid cancer that vary according to the type of cells that are affected. Without embargo the most common are:

  • Papillary carcinoma: this type of thyroid cancer is the most common, occurs in 80% of cases, and usually develops very slowly, it is more easy to treat;
  • Follicular carcinoma: this cancer is less frequent than papillary cancer, but it also has a good prognosis, being easy to treat;
  • Hurthle Cell Tumor: Thyroid cancer is more difficult to detect, occurring in 3% of cases, and for this reason it is often diagnosed at a more advanced stage, being more difficult to cure.
  • anaplastic carcinoma: it is very rare, it occurs in 1% of the cases, but it is very aggressive, having few possibilities of cure.

In the types of papillary or follicular cancer, the survival rate is high, although it can decrease to the extent when the cancer is diagnosed at a very advanced stage, especially if there is metastasis in the body. Therefore, in addition to knowing what type of tumor the person has, it is also necessary to know its stage and whether there is metastasis or not associated, because it determines which treatment is most indicated for each case.

The treatment for thyroid cancer depends on the size of the tumor and the main treatment options for people with thyroid cancer are surgery, radioactive iodine therapy and hormone therapy. In the most severe cases, chemotherapy and radiotherapy may be indicated, but all treatments are always indicated by the endocrino or the surgeon of cabeza and cuello.

  • surgery: known as thyroidectomy, it consists of removing the entire thyroid, in addition to performing the cervical vacuum to remove the ganglia of the skin that may be affected. Find out how the surgery is performed;
  • hormone replacement: The continuation is to take medication to replace the hormones produced by the thyroid, throughout life, every day, during the day;
  • Chemo or Radiotherapy: May be indicated in case of medullary or anaplastic cancer, especially in an advanced tumor;
  • Radioactive iodine ingestion: After 1 month after the removal of the thyroid, the second step of the treatment should be started, which is the ingestion of radioactive iodine that serves to completely eliminate all the thyroid cells and, consequently, all the traces of the tumor. See all about Radioactive Iodine Therapy.

Casi chemotherapy is never recommended in case of thyroid cancer because this type of tumor does not respond well to this treatment.

Learn more about the medications indicated for the thyroid.

After the treatment to extract a thyroid tumor, it is necessary to carry out tests to evaluate whether the treatment has completely eliminated the malignant cells and whether the hormone replacement is adequate to the person’s needs.

The necessary exams include:

  • gammagraphy: it’s an exam where the person takes a medicine and enters an apparatus that generates images of the whole body, in order to find tumor cells or metastasis in the body. This exam can be carried out 1 to 6 months after the iodotherapy. If malignant cells or metastasis are found, the doctor may indicate the ingestion of a new radioactive iodine tablet to eliminate any trace of cancer, but a single dose of iodine therapy is usually enough.
  • Skin ultrasound: You can indicate if there are changes in the cuello and the level of the cervical ganglia;
  • Blood tests for TSH and thyroglobulin dosageevery 3, 6 or 12 months, the objective is that your values ​​are below <0.4 mU/L.

Normally, the doctor only requests 1 or 2 full body gammagraphies and the follow-up is carried out only with ultrasound of the body and blood tests. Depending on the age, type and stage of the tumor, and the general health status of the person, these exams can be repeated periodically for a period of 10 years or more, this will depend on medical criteria.

It is just possible that a tumor discovered early can spread through the body, having metastasis, but the best way to know if there are malignant cells in the body is performing the tests that the doctor requests and takes some care such as eating regularly, practicing physical activity regularly and have healthy lifestyle habits.

However, if the tumor is aggressive or if it is discovered at a more advanced stage, there is a possibility that the cancer appears in other parts of the body, with more frequent metastasis in the bones or in the lung, for example.

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Consult a Doctor | Translated by User2937

Content for educational purposes only

The translator user relied on the following text:

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Disclaimer – (English version>) This content has been prepared based on information from research, additional publications, or the translation/verification work of a volunteer editor of this web council. This is a non-profit service. It is strongly recommended that all details and information published be carefully verified. We never allow medication recommendations, medication package inserts or any medication guidance. We never allow partisan politics as information.

Isenção de responsabilidade – (versão em português): Este conteúdo foi preparado com base em informações de pesquisas, publicações adicionais ou no trabalho de tradução/verificação de um editor voluntário deste conselho web. Este é um serviço sem fins lucrativos. É altamente recomendável que todos os detalhes e informações publicadas sejam verificadas cuidadosamente. Nunca permitimos recomendações de medicamentos, bulas ou qualquer orientação sobre medicamentos. Nunca permitimos a política partidária como base para checagem. Para mais informações, leia nossos termos.

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