Types of Thyroid Cancer
Types of thyroid cancer include:
- Papillary thyroid cancer: The most common form of thyroid cancer, papillary thyroid cancer, mostly affects people of 30 to 50 ages.
- Follicular thyroid cancer: Follicular thyroid cancer arises from the follicular cells of the thyroid. It usually affects people older than age 50.
- Medullary thyroid cancer: Medullary thyroid cancer begins in thyroid cells which produce the hormone calcitonin. Elevated levels of calcitonin in the blood can indicate medullary thyroid cancer. Certain genetic syndromes increase the risk of medullary thyroid cancer.
- Anaplastic thyroid cancer: Anaplastic thyroid cancer is a rare and rapidly growing cancer that is very difficult to treat.
- Thyroid lymphoma: Thyroid lymphoma is a rare form of thyroid cancer that begins in the immune system cells in the thyroid.
Signs and Symptoms of Thyroid cancer
Thyroid cancer is asymptomatic early in the disease however in later stages may cause:
- A lump, swelling in the neck
- Hoarseness that does not go away
- Trouble swallowing
- Pain in the front of the neck
- Trouble breathing
- Constant cough
Staging of thyroid cancer
Thyroid cancers range from stages I (1) through IV (4), the lower the number, the less cancer has spread. A higher number, such as stage IV, means cancer has spread more. TNM staging system is used for thyroid cancer:
- The extent (size) of the tumor (T): How large is the tumor
- The spread to nearby lymph nodes (N): Cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes
- The spread (metastasis) to distant sites (M): Cancer has spread to the distant organs
- Numbers or letters after T, N, and M provide more details about each of these factors. Higher numbers mean the cancer is more advanced
Tests and Diagnosis
Signs and symptoms might suggest you have thyroid cancer, but you will need tests to confirm the diagnosis.
- Ultrasound: It can help determine if a thyroid nodule is solid or filled with fluid. It can also be used to check the number and size of thyroid nodules. Also to determine if any nearby lymph nodes are enlarged
- Biopsy: A small piece of tissue is extracted from the thyroid gland by the procedure of fine needle aspiration. The sample is analyzed in the laboratory to look for cancer cells.
- Radioiodine scan: It is often used in people who have already been diagnosed with thyroid cancer to help show if it has spread.
- Computed tomography(CT) scan: It can help determine the location and size of thyroid cancer and its spread
- Blood Tests: Blood tests like TSH and Thyroglobulin are not used to find thyroid cancer. But they can help show if your thyroid is working normally, also used to monitor certain cancers.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan
- Positron emission tomography (PET) scan
Treatment of thyroid cancer
After thyroid cancer is diagnosed and staged and also considering general health of the patient, the consultant will discuss treatment options, a patient may need more than one type of treatment. The treatment options for thyroid cancer include:
- Surgery: To remove the part of the thyroid gland that contains cancer.
- Removing one part (lobe) is called a lobectomy.
- Removing both lobes is called a total thyroidectomy.
- Removing all but a very small part of the thyroid is called a near-total thyroidectomy. Lymph nodes may also be removed during surgery.
- Radioactive iodine: It is used after surgery to destroy any remaining thyroid tissue. Radioactive iodine treatment comes as a capsule or liquid that you swallow, side effects may include:
- Dry mouth
- Dry eyes
- Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) suppression therapy: In thyroid hormone therapy, doctors prescribe drugs that reduce the production of thyroid stimulating hormones, which may help prevent the growth of any remaining cancer cells.
- External beam radiation therapy: Radiation therapy can also be given externally using a machine that aims high-energy beams, at precise points on your body.
- Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is a drug treatment that uses chemicals to kill cancer cells.
- Targeted therapy: These drugs target the signals that tell cancer cells to grow and divide. It is used in people with advanced thyroid cancer.
- After treatment for thyroid cancer, you may need to take thyroid hormone medicine for the rest of your life to replace the hormones
- Follow-up visits with consultant every 6 to 12 month, at your follow-up visits, a blood test performed to measure thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) level, other tests, such as a radioiodine scan, X-rays, or a CT scan.
- The most important side effect of radioactive iodine therapy (RAI) is that you will become radioactive for a period of time, it is important to prevent exposing others to radiation.
Factors Affecting the Cost of Thyroid Cancer Treatment
The following factors affect the treatment cost of thyroid cancer:
- The hospital, the patient chooses
- Room –Standard single room, deluxe room, super deluxe room for the number of nights specified (including nursing fee, meals, room rate, and room service)
- The type of Thyroid cancer treatment suggested by the doctor
- Fee for the team of doctors
- Standard test and diagnostic procedures
- Cost of the follow –up care required after the procedure