How Can I Prevent Thyroid Cancer
Many people develop thyroid cancer for no known reason, so prevention isnt really possible. But if you know youre at risk for thyroid cancer, you may be able to take these steps:
- Preventive surgery: Genetic tests can determine if you carry an altered gene that increases your risk for medullary thyroid cancer or multiple endocrine neoplasia. If you have the faulty gene, you may opt to have preventive surgery to remove your thyroid gland before cancer develops.
- Potassium iodide: If you were exposed to radiation during a nuclear disaster, such as the 2011 incident at Fukushima, Japan, taking potassium iodide within 24 hours of exposure can lower your risk of eventually getting thyroid cancer. Potassium iodide blocks the thyroid gland from absorbing too much radioiodine. As a result, the gland stays healthy.
What Are The Types Of Thyroid Cancer
Thyroid cancer is classified based on the type of cells from which the cancer grows. Thyroid cancer types include:
- Papillary: Up to 80% of all thyroid cancers are papillary. This cancer type grows slowly. Although papillary thyroid cancer often spreads to lymph nodes in the neck, the disease responds very well to treatment. Papillary thyroid cancer is highly curable and rarely fatal.
- Follicular: Follicular thyroid cancer accounts for up to 15% of thyroid cancer diagnoses. This cancer is more likely to spread to bones and organs, like the lungs. Metastatic cancer can be more challenging to treat.
- Medullary: About 2% of thyroid cancers are medullary. A quarter of people with medullary thyroid cancer have a family history of the disease. A faulty gene may be to blame.
- Anaplastic: This aggressive thyroid cancer is the hardest type to treat. It can grow quickly and often spreads into surrounding tissue and other parts of the body. This rare cancer type accounts for about 2% of thyroid cancer diagnoses.
Who Might Have Thyroid Cancer
Women are three times more likely than men to get thyroid cancer. The disease is commonly diagnosed in women in their 40s and 50s, and men in their 60s and 70s. Even children can develop the disease. Risk factors include:
- Exposure to radioactive fallout from nuclear weapons or a power plant accident.
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Thyroid Cancer: Common In Women
Thyroid disorders are more common in women, probably due to the roles of hormones, which are different in femalesthan in males.
Thyroid nodules, Russell says, affect up to 80 percent of women, but only 5percent to 15 percent of those lumps and bumps are malignant. Bettertesting means thyroid tumors are on the rise, he notes, saying that itsprojected to become the third most common cancer.
Malignant and cancer are scary words, but Russell says that mostthyroid cancer is highly treatable, even when the cancer cells spread tonearby lymph nodes, which occurs frequently.
With thyroid cancer we talk about prognosis in terms of 20-year survivalinstead of five years, as we do with most other cancers. Its usually aslow-moving disease. Theres a 98 to 99 percent survival rate at 20 years,he says.
We treat it almost like a chronic condition where the patient getstreatment and visits her doctor regularly for follow-up.
Hi I Just Read Your Story
Hi, I just read your story and I to had stage IV papillary thyroid cancer which had spread to my lymph nodes in my neck. My thyroglobulin levels are continually going lower but I have told myself and my family if they start going up again I am going to MD Anderson cancer center in Houston TX. I have had a CT scan, PET scan and several full body scans which have been ok, but the fear is always there. My prayers are with you and your doctors. I hope they will become more open with you and communicate better. Take care.
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Thyroid Cancer In Lung
I had one side of my thyroid removed and the other side was killed by idione ration back in 1989. On August 7, I fell off the roof and rushed to the ER. The CT scan showed broken bones but also a node in the base of right lung. A PET scan on August 30 confirmed a high uptake in right lung base and also in Hila and subcarinal lymph, followed by bone and brain scan a week later which were clear. A CT scan guided biopsy was performed on September 30 showed a papillary thyroid cancer in right lung. Now I am scheduled for I-131 scan for October 24.I am coughing a bit but I have severe indigestive, not sure if it is related?Oh, for the biopsy, I did that last week, it was a CT scan guided biopsy, did not feel a thing and I was out of the hospital in a couple of hours.
What Are The Symptoms Of A Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer
Unlike almost all other thyroid cancers, anaplastic thyroid cancer usually has symptoms. Although it almost never causes hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism , it usually grows so fast and grows locally invasive into surrounding tissues that either its rapid growth rate or local invasion produces its first symptoms. The most common symptoms of anaplastic thyroid cancer are the rapid growth of a neck mass and changes to voice and and swallowing. However, rarely does it make people feel bad. Most importantly, anaplastic thyroid cancer is most commonly diagnosed by expert cytologists following fine needle aspiration analysis of cells obtained from the thyroid gland itself or neck lymph nodes containing metastatic anaplastic thyroid cancer!
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Surgery For Papillary Thyroid Cancer
Papillary thyroid cancer is treated with surgery. It is important to understand that the best chance of cure is to have an expert thyroid cancer surgeon from the beginning. A surgeon who performs surgery for papillary thyroid cancer on a daily basis has a higher cure rate than a surgeon who performs thyroid surgery several times per week, or does other types of thyroid surgery . Surgery for thyroid cancer has become very specialized, so it is important for you to be comfortable with your choice of surgeon.
Calculating Risk Based On Tumor Size
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center provides a Breast Cancer Nomogram through which you can predict the likelihood that a breast cancer has spread to axillary lymph nodes based on tumor size .
To complete this estimate, you are asked to agree to the conditions, and understand that it is only an estimate.
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From What I Have Learned
from what i have learned about cancer if it mestastisizes and spreads to another organ it is still the same type of cancer.. IE thyroid cancer of the lungs so radioactive Iodine should be the treatment unless you have a resitance to radio-iodine cancer type.
talk to your endo and find out what they plan on telling your cancer doctor… talk to your cancer doctor and find out what they need from your endo and what other info they can give you.
also i recomend looking up http://www.thyca.org/ they will have a nice list of questions there to talk to your doctor about as well as a wonderfull support group.
and yes chemo will make you sick.. it is how sick vs how much they can kill of the cancer that is what matters to the doctors.
also if they are insistant that the nodules are not causing the problems have them get you to a specialist in lungs to figure out what the problem is.
heck i was told a few times by some of the doctors i saw them that just cause i had problem with thyroid they wanted to make sure it was not somehting else just cause people assume all other problems are caused from the first one.
keep talking to the doctors and good luck
Papillary Thyroid Cancer Quick Facts:
- Peak onset ages 30 through 50
- Females more common than males by 3 to 1 ratio
- Prognosis directly related to tumor size
- Accounts for 85% of thyroid cancers
- Can be caused by radiation or x-ray exposure
- Spread to lymph nodes of the neck present in up to 50% of cases
- Distant spread is very rare
- Overall cure rate very high
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What Kind Of Treatment Will I Need
There are many ways to treat thyroid cancer but surgery is the main treatment. The treatment plan thats best for you will depend on:
- The stage of the cancer
- The chance that a type of treatment will cure the cancer or help in some way
- Your age
- Other health problems you have
- Your feelings about the treatment and the side effects that come with it
Depending on the type and stage of your thyroid cancer, you may need more than 1 type of treatment.
What Are The Causes Of Papillary Carcinoma Of The Thyroid
The exact cause of papillary carcinoma of the thyroid is unknown. There may be a genetic mutation involved but more research is need to confirm this hypothesis.
One risk factor for the disease is exposure of the head, neck, or chest to radiation. This happened more often before the 1960s when radiation was a common treatment for conditions like acne and inflamed tonsils. Radiation is still sometimes used to treat certain cancers.
People exposed to nuclear disasters or have lived within 200 miles of a nuclear disaster are at high risk. They may need to take potassium iodide to reduce their risk of developing cancer.
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Tests That May Be Done
Blood tests: Blood tests alone cant tell if a thyroid lump is cancer. But they can help show if the thyroid is working the way it should.
Ultrasound: For this test, a small wand is moved over the skin in front of your neck. It gives off sound waves and picks up the echoes as they bounce off the thyroid gland. The echoes are made into a picture on a computer screen. How a lump looks on ultrasound can sometimes help tell if its cancer, but ultrasound cant tell for sure.
Radioiodine scan: For this test, a low dose of radioactive iodine is swallowed or put into a vein. Over time, the iodine is absorbed by the thyroid gland. A special camera is then used to see the radioactivity. Nodules that have less iodine than the rest of the thyroid can sometimes be cancer.
CT or CAT scan: Its a special kind of x-ray that takes detailed pictures of the thyroid and can show if the cancer has spread.
MRI scan: This test uses radio waves and strong magnets instead of x-rays to take pictures. MRI scans can be used to look for cancer in the thyroid, or cancer that has spread.
PET scan: In this test, you are given a special type of sugar that can be seen inside your body with a camera. If there is cancer, this sugar shows up as hot spots where the cancer is found. This test can be very useful if your thyroid cancer is one that doesnt take up radioactive iodine.
If the diagnosis is not clear after an FNA biopsy, you might need another kind of biopsy to get more cells to test.
My Similar Experience With Stage Iv Ptc And Lung Nodules
It is so encouraging to find a discussion thread that touched on situations like mine. I have a great nuclear medicine guy who is acting as my primary physician for this cancer even though I no longer get any results from raI131. I have talked with chest surgeon, oncologist, Nuc Med doc and head-neck surgeon. Let me tell you what I have learned in case it helps. My situation is Tg level at 6, up from 5 at start of the year. I had thyroidectomy in 2003 and radical neck dissection in early 2010 to take a lot of canx lymph nodes. No uptake on raI131 treatment in April, but I had a PET/CT scan in May when my Thyroglobulin had only gone down to 5.4. PET/CT scan confirmed 2 nodes under my clavicle and numerous nodes in my lungs . Re-scan in Aug shows lung nodules more clearly and Tg at 6.2. I have normal lifestyle today.
Guidance I have gotten:- Oncologist in April wanted to start trial Nexavar right away . Chemo is not an option as it rarely works. External beam radiation can’t be used on lungs. Nexavar only work for a period of time in many people tested, so I am holding off on that until things worsen).- Surgeon said he could operate on neck cancer and could do biopsy, but he clearly felt that neither was worth the risk/inconvenience. Biopsy recovery would be longer than thyroidectomy was… plus lung nodes trump the neck ones as the bigger issue.- Nuc Med guy says I131 no longer making a difference so that’s not adviced. He’s acting as objective 3rd party right now .
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Stages For Thyroid Cancer
The thyroid cancer staging classification system is very similar for older patients with differentiated tumors and for those with medullary thyroid cancer. Age is not a consideration when classifying medullary cancers.
Stage 1 thyroid cancer: The tumor is 2 cm or smaller , and has not grown outside the thyroid. It has not spread to nearby lymph nodes or distant sites.
Stage 2 thyroid cancer: The cancer meets one of the following criteria:
- The diameter of the primary tumor ranges from 2 to 4 cm. There are no cancer cells in regional lymph nodes or distant sites in the body.
- The primary tumor is larger than four cm in diameter or has started to grow outside of the thyroid gland. No cancer was found in the lymph nodes or other parts of the body .
Stage;3 thyroid cancer: The cancer meets one of the following criteria:
- The primary tumor is larger than 4 cm, or has grown outside the thyroid, but has not spread to nearby lymph nodes or beyond .
- The tumor can be any size or be growing outside the thyroid, and has spread to lymph nodes in the neck but no farther.
Stage;4 thyroid cancer: This is the most advanced stage of thyroid cancer, is further subdivided depending on where the cancer has spread:
Stage 4 anaplastic thyroid cancer;: Anaplastic/undifferentiated thyroid cancers are much more aggressive than the other subtypes and are all considered stage 4:
Symptoms Of Papillary Carcinoma Of The Thyroid
Papillary carcinoma of the thyroid is generally asymptomatic, which means it doesnt have any symptoms. You might feel a lump on your thyroid but most nodules on the thyroid arent cancerous. But if you do feel a lump, you should still see your doctor. Theyll be able to give you an exam and order diagnostic tests if necessary.
What Is The Progression Of Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma If Left Untreated
If neglected, any thyroid cancer may result in symptoms because of compression and/or infiltration of the cancer mass into the surrounding tissues, and the cancer may metastasize to lung and bone. Metastases, in descending order of frequency, are most common in the neck lymph nodes and lung, followed by the bone, brain, liver, and other sites. Metastatic potential seems to be a function of the primary tumor size. Metastases in the absence of thyroid pathology in the physical examination findings are rare in patients with microscopic papillary carcinoma .
How Quickly Breast Cancer Spreads
Since the spread of breast cancer to other parts of the body is responsible for over 90 percent of deaths related to breast cancer, the question of how rapidly breast cancer spreads is very important.
Breast cancer usually spreads first to lymph nodes under the arm . Even with the involvement of lymph nodes, breast cancer is considered an early stage and is potentially curable with treatment.
When a cancer spreads to regions such as the bones, brain, lungs, or liver, however, it is considered stage IV, or metastatic breast cancer, and is no longer curable.
Most breast cancers have the potential to spread. Carcinoma in situ or stage 0 breast cancer has not yet spread beyond something known as the basement membrane. These tumors are considered non-invasive and are theoretically 100 percent curable with surgery.
All other stages of breast cancer are considered invasive and have the potential to spread. Spread to lymph nodes, even when early stage, is very important, as these tumors have essentially declared their intent to spread beyond the breasts.
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How We Care For Thyroid Cancer In Children
The team of clinicians in the Thyroid Center at Boston Childrens Hospital treats children and adolescents with thyroid cancer. Founded in 2001, the Thyroid Center is the oldest program of its kind in the country, and one of the only centers in the U.S. devoted exclusively to the care of children with thyroid diseases. The specialists in this multidisciplinary program have expertise in thyroid ultrasound, fine needle aspiration, thyroid surgery, nuclear medicine imaging, and radioactive iodine therapy.
Surgical experience is critical to having the best outcomes from thyroid cancer surgery, so its important to take the time to choose a surgeon who specializes in thyroid cancer in children. The rate of surgical complications is higher in children with thyroid cancer than in adults, perhaps because few pediatric surgeons are well versed in its treatment. Fortunately, thyroid cancer grows slowly, which gives families the opportunity to find a skilled pediatric thyroid surgeon or to seek a second opinion.
At Boston Childrens Thyroid Center, our pediatric thyroid surgeons specialize in the care of children and adolescents with thyroid disease, making us one of the most experienced centers of its kind in the country. This breadth and depth of knowledge result in exceptional outcomes and a low rate of surgical complications, which means that you can trust that your child is in the best hands.