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Medical Negligence Solicitors
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Thyroid cancer is an unfortunate disease of the cancer. In thyroid cancer, abnormal cells develop due to changes in the DNA of various types of cells in the thyroid gland. The thyroid is a small gland in the front of the neck that is shaped like a butterfly. Its normal job is to make T4 and T3, which are the major thyroid hormones. Thyroid hormones are responsible for many cellular activities, including cellular metabolism. Without the thyroid gland, we would feel and be cold due to lack of cellular heat. The thyroid gland is responsible for your energy level on a cellular level as well.
Thyroid cancer is not a common form of cancer. Fortunately, few people die of the disease, especially when they are treated quickly and properly treated. Even so, when it is treated, it is possible for it to come back again.
Doctors do not know exactly what causes thyroid cancer. They do know that unexpected changes in the DNA cause cells to grow out of control. They form tumours and parts of the tumours can travel to nearby lymph nodes and other body areas. The DNA changes in the cells can be hereditary. Things like excessive radiation exposure can contribute to thyroid cancer. It has to be a lot of radiation, such as that seen in radiation to the neck for other reasons. Dental x-rays aren’t strong enough to cause radiation-induced thyroid cancer. It is usually radiation done for cancer in the head and neck.
Symptoms of thyroid cancer include any of the following:
Some patients may be completely asymptomatic and might simply have their doctor notice a lump in the neck at the time of a regular examination.
Once the thyroid nodule is noticed, an ultrasound or CT scan can be done to see if the nodule is solid or cystic. It is the solid nodule that one would worry about. It can be biopsied using an ultrasound and a needle which will take up some thyroid cells and evaluate them for cancer. With the biopsy, the doctor will be able to tell what kind of cancer the patient has.
There is papillary thyroid cancer, which makes up 70-80 percent of all thyroid cancers. There is also follicular thyroid cancer, which makes up between 10-15 percent of all thyroid cancer. It is seen in women 3 times more often than in men. Medullary thyroid cancer is seen in 5-10 percent of all thyroid cancers. It tends to run in families and is seen in other endocrine disorders. Anaplastic thyroid cancer is extremely rare, affecting less than 5 percent of all thyroid cases. It usually occurs in those people who are older than 65 years of age. It doesn’t have a good prognosis.
Thyroid cancer is treated with a variety of modalities. Radioactive iodine is often used because the thyroid gland takes up iodine very well. It essentially puts radiation exactly where it is needed. This means that external beam radiation is not usually needed. Chemotherapy is not often used either as it is not as helpful with this form of cancer. Treatment depends on the stage of the disease and one treatment will be to dissect and remove the lymph nodes around the thyroid gland. The thyroid will almost always be removed at some point in the therapy.
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