Thursday, 10 November 2016
The thyroid gland is below the thyroid cartilage (Adam’s apple) in the front part of the neck. In most people, the thyroid cannot be seen or felt. It is butterfly shaped, with 2 lobes joined by a narrow isthmus. The thyroid’s job is to make thyroid hormones, which are secreted into the blood and then carried to every tissue in the body. Thyroid hormone helps the body use energy, stay warm and keep the brain, heart, muscles, and other organs working as they should. Cancer of the thyroid is a disease in which cancer cells are found in the tissues of the thyroid gland. Cancer of the thyroid is more common in women than in men. Most patients are between 25 and 65 years old. People who have been exposed to large amounts of radiation, or who have had radiation treatment for medical problems in the head and neck have a higher chance of getting thyroid cancer. The cancer may not occur until 20 years or longer after radiation treatment. Thyroid cancer is an uncommon type of cancer. Most people who have it do very well, because the cancer is usually found early and the treatments work well. After it is treated, thyroid cancer may come back, sometimes many years after treatment. Most thyroid cancers are differentiated cancers. The cells in these cancers look a lot like normal thyroid tissue when seen with a microscope. These cancers develop from thyroid follicular cells.
Types of Thyroid Cancer
There are 4 main types of thyroid cancer, and some are more common than others.
Thyroid cancer type and incidence:
· Papillary and/or mixed papillary/follicular thyroid cancer
· Follicular and/or Hurthle cell thyroid cancer
· Medullary thyroid cancer
· Anaplastic thyroid cancer
Most thyroid cancers are very curable. In fact, the most common types of thyroid cancer are the most curable. In younger patients, both papillary and follicular cancers have a more than 97% cure rate if treated appropriately. The genes in our cells carry the hereditary information from our parents. An abnormal gene has been found in patients with some forms of thyroid cancer. If medullary thyroid cancer is found, the patient may have been born with a certain abnormal gene which may have led to the cancer.
If there are symptoms, a doctor will feel the patient's thyroid and check for lumps in the neck. The doctor may order blood tests and special scans to see whether a lump in the thyroid is making too many hormones.