Causes, Symptoms And Treatment Of Thyroid Cancer

What is thyroid cancer?

Thyroid cancer is the formation of malignant cells in the thyroid gland, the butterfly-shaped organ that is located in front of the trachea in the neck, and which produces thyroid hormones.

Rare cancer

Thyroid cancer is a relatively rare form of cancer that occurs in approximately 2 per 100,000 people per year in the Netherlands. (By comparison, the incidence of the most common type of cancer lung cancer is 50-60 per 100,000 people per year). The figures for Belgium are similar. Thyroid cancer is more common in women, they get about 2.5 times as often as men thyroid cancer. The disease is also more common at younger ages than other cancers.

Thyroid cancer symptoms

Usually thyroid cancer discovered when the patient feels a swelling or lump in the thyroid gland. In the vast majority of cases appears to be such a benign nodule ultimately, only a small percentage (around 5%) it appears to thyroid cancer.

Usually the thyroid are currently working just fine, and there are no symptoms of an overactive or underactive thyroid gland.

 Thyroid cancer is the formation of malignant cells in the thyroid gland Causes, Symptoms And Treatment Of Thyroid Cancer

Thyroid cancer diagnosis

The lump in the thyroid gland will often first be examined with ultrasound and / or scintigraphy, so the exact size and location can be determined. If the lump is suspicious for cancer, a biopsy is done using a fine needle. This is what tissue taken from the lump, which can then be examined by the pathologist. This may indicate whether the tissue is benign or malignant, and malice, he can also determine the type of thyroid cancer.

Types of thyroid cancer

There are four major types of thyroid cancer:
  • Papillary thyroid cancer
  • Follicular thyroid cancer
  • Medullary thyroid cancer
  • The anaplastic thyroid cancer

Papillary and follicular form of thyroid cancer are the most common, together they form about 90% of all thyroid cancers.

Healing opportunities

The chance of recovery depends on the type of thyroid cancer, was exactly the place where the nodule, the stage of cancer (the nodule is small or big, and there are metastases?) and the general condition of the patient.

The papillary and follicular types of thyroid cancer are most common and are relatively the goedaardigste: only 4% of patients with papillary or follicular thyroid cancer die within 5 years. In the thirty years after the first ever diagnosis dies only 8% of patients by the cancer or its complications.

Because thyroid cancer sometimes after years "healing" can come suddenly back again, it is important that patients regularly under control remain with the doctor.

Thyroid cancer treatment

 Thyroid cancer is the formation of malignant cells in the thyroid gland Causes, Symptoms And Treatment Of Thyroid Cancer

Thyroid cancer is treated surgically preferably.
  • When the nub sits on a favorable position, and is quite small, it can usually be removed completely by removing a part of the thyroid gland. This then offers very good prospects of cure.
  • If the nodule is bigger or is in an unfavorable position, it can often be completely removed by removing the entire thyroid. This also offers good views of cure, but here the function of the thyroid gland will be lost. This requires people to swallow tablets than lifelong thyroid hormones.

Often, after such a complete removal of the thyroid also given a treatment with radioactive iodine (RAI).

Radioactive iodine
When the nodule is not (fully) can be removed surgically, or where there are metastases are found, then the provision of radio-active iodine (RAI) is often a good method of treatment. Iodine is in the human body, in particular, incorporated herein by thyroid cells (because they have thyroid hormone of the need for the production), and the radio-active iodine will therefore mainly end up in the thyroid cells, and thyroid cancer cells and cause them to die off. This principle works throughout the body, and metastases will also be thus so controlled. Radioactive iodine is not restricted to thyroid cancer cells are malignant in such a way that, in that they no longer appear on the original thyroid cells and therefore does not absorb more iodine.

Thyroid hormones
Tablets with thyroid hormones are given for two reasons. In the first place, the operation will often a shortage of thyroid hormones are formed in the body. This gives annoying symptoms and can (in a serious deficit) also be deadly. Replacement is very desirable. In the second place, there is a mechanism in the human body, so that thyroid cells at a low level of thyroid hormones in the blood, are stimulated by the mote TSH for growth and to a higher production of thyroid hormones. Also thyroid cancer are often encouraged by this substance to grow and divide. By artificially increase the level of thyroid hormones in the blood, the level of TSH layer and continues to be the cancer cells not stimulated to grow.

Causes of thyroid cancer

Thyroid cancer can happen to anyone. When a patient can not usually be said that for some reason your explanatory factor for the development of thyroid cancer in that person.

People have a greater chance of getting thyroid cancer when:
  • the thyroid has been exposed to radiation or irradiation
  • thyroid cancer occurs in the family
  • they are of the female gender (2.5 times as often as thyroid cancer in men)
  • radioactive iodine have been administered (131-I)

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