The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland in front of the wind pipe and lower part of the neck. It has a left and right lobe. The thyroid makes the hormone thyroxine. Uncontrolled or abnormal rapid growth thyroid cells is thyroid cancer.
Causes of Thyroid cancer
There are several causes of thyroid cancer to occur among which the most commonly seen are
Females are more prone to get the condition. They are at a higher risk. Clinically even in the ratio of male : female coming to hospital with complaints, females are way more than males.
If anyone in the family like mother, father , sister , daughter , son , etc. have had thyroid cancer then one is at a very high risk of having the disease.
Exposure to a lot of radiation like the x-rays, uv rays, etc increases risk for thyroid cancer. It stimulates the thyroid cells to undergo changes putting the person at a higher risk to get the disease.
Symptoms of Thyroid Cancer
In the initial stages, it is very difficult to tell if you have thyroid as there wont be any symptom. But as time passes it will start to show up.
The findings one can pick up are;
- A lump in throat , which can also be visualised as a swelling in the throat
- If the cancer involves the nerves then you may have hoarseness in your voice.
- In later stages you may also develop pain in throat.
- If it starts to compress your food pipe then you will have difficulty in swallowing.
- If the cancer starts spreading in the neighbouring structures then the lymph nodes would become hard and enlarged.
Diagnosing Thyroid Cancer
Thyroid function test can be done to evaluate the level of hormones present in blood. A very high amount of T4 and T3 is suspicious of presence of cancer.
An ultrasound of thyroid may give a rough picture of the structural changes inside the thyroid. Hence abnormal structural changes can be picked out with this test.
Thyroid biopsy is done to give a clear picture of the presence of the condition. As small pieces of the tissue is taken and observed under the microscope. Rapidly growing cells are picked out.
Other tests which are helpful are Calcium, calcitonin and phosphorous level in blood.
Treatments for Thyroid cancer
- Endoscopic Thyroidectomy is used to remove thyroid glands affected by thyroid cancer as well as for abnormalities like Thyroid Nodule (Cyst) , Goitre and Multinodular Goitre (MNG) . We are among the first in India to perform scar-less thyroid gland removal.
- Thyroid hormone therapy is started once thyroid removal is done, in order to maintain the thyroid hormone levels in the body.
- Radioactive Iodine therapy is started after surgery. This destroys any remaining cancer cells left behind after surgery. RI can also be used to treat recurrent thyroid tumors or cancer that spreads to other areas.
- Alcohol ablation: This involves injecting alcohol into the thyroid cancer cells, with help of ultrasound imaging. This in turn destroys the tumor cells.
The main thing to avoid for prevention of thyroid cancer is avoid exposure to x-rays and prolonged exposure to sun as it contains uv rays.
First in South India to do Endoscopic Thyroidectomy
Endoscopic Thyroidectomy Specialists
Dr. J. S. Rajkumar
M.S., F.I.C.S., Dip. N.B. (SURG.), F.R.C.S. (ENG.), F.R.C.S. (EDIN.), F.R.C.S. (GLASGOW), F.R.C.S. (IRELAND), F.I.M.S., F.A.I.S., F.R.M.S. (LONDON), F.A.E. (GASTRO), F.A.C.G. (USA), F.I.C.A. (USA), F.I.A.G.E.S., Dip M.I.S. (FR.)
Dr. C.M.K. Reddy
M.B.B.S., DSc., F.R.C.S. (GLAS), F.R.C.S., F.R.S.H (Eng), F.I.C.S, F.I.C.A (USA)
CONSULTANT SURGEON AND VASCULAR SURGEON.