After A Diagnosis Of Thyroid Cancer
After a diagnosis of;thyroid;cancer;you may feel disbelief,;uncertainty,;fear and anxiety. There is no right or wrong way to feel and experiencing a range of;emotions is normal. While the most common types of thyroid cancers have a very good long-term prognosis, you may still feel shocked and;confused.;It may help to talk to family and friends about how you are feeling.;;
Ask your specialist to explain;treatment options and any potential side effects and;financial concerns.;Take as much time as you can so that you can make well-informed decisions.;;
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.
When To Get Medical Advice
See a GP if you have symptoms of thyroid cancer. The symptoms may;be caused;by less serious conditions, such as an enlarged thyroid , so it’s important to get them checked.
A GP will examine your neck and can organise a blood test;to check how well your thyroid is working.
If they think you could have cancer or they’re not sure what’s causing your symptoms, you’ll be referred to a hospital specialist for;more tests.
Find out more about how thyroid cancer is diagnosed.
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How Does Thyroid Cancer Affect Pregnancy
Thyroid cancer is the second most common cancer diagnosed in pregnant women . Approximately 10% of thyroid cancers develop during pregnancy or within the first year after childbirth. Experts believe fluctuating hormone levels during pregnancy may trigger the cancer.
If you receive a thyroid cancer diagnosis during pregnancy, your healthcare provider can discuss treatment options. Depending on the cancer type and severity, your provider may recommend delaying treatment until after you deliver your baby. If treatment cant wait, most women can safely undergo surgery to remove the cancerous gland. You shouldnt have radioactive diagnostic tests or treatments when youre pregnant or breastfeeding.
Thyroid Cancer Warning Signs
Thyroid cancer affects the cells of the thyroid gland. In its earliest stages, thyroid cancer may exhibit no noticeable symptoms. As the tumor progresses, a number of early warning signs develop. Because of these characteristic symptoms, thyroid cancer is normally diagnosed and successfully treated early on. Certain portions of the population have a higher probability of developing thyroid cancer.
The thyroid gland is a small gland located at the front of the neck. Its main function is the production of three thyroid hormones: thyroxine, triiodothryronine, and calcitonin. These hormones play an important role in metabolism regulation, the proper functioning of other endocrine hormones, and maintaining the bodys calcium balance.
In its earliest stages, an individual with thyroid cancer will experience no symptoms. As the tumor grows, they will develop a swelling or small lump at the front of their neck. While the thyroid gland can sometimes develop non-cancerous lumps, these nodule-like swellings are usually the first indication of thyroid cancer.
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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.
What Causes Thyroid Cancer
The exact cause of thyroid cancer is not known, but various factors increase the risk of thyroid cancer. The common risk factors include
- Genetic predisposition and certain genetic syndromes, such as familial medullary thyroid cancer, multiple endocrine neoplasia, familial adenomatous polyposis and Cowden’s syndrome
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Chronic Cough Or Shortness Of Breath
In rare situations, a tumor may grow so large that it presses on your esophagus, causing shortness of breath or a chronic cough. That may be a sign you have a more aggressive form of thyroid cancer that has started to invade other structures, Ross says.
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Other Signs And Symptoms
Other, more rare or unusual signs of medullary thyroid cancer that you should be aware of include:
- Severe diarrhea. This is a very rare symptom sometimes found in people with advanced medullary thyroid cancer. The tumor produces high levels of calcitonin, a hormone that may cause severe diarrhea.
- Cushing syndrome. In rare cases, adrenal tumors can cause Cushing syndrome, a condition that arises when a tumor secretes hormones that the thyroid wouldnt normal create. Cushing syndrome associated with medullary thyroid cancer is uncommon. The syndrome is more commonly caused by the pituitary gland overproducing adrenocorticotropic hormone , or by taking oral corticosteroid medication.
- Facial flushing. A red face, neck, or chest paired with warm or burning sensations can be a sign of many conditions. Tumors or other abnormal growths can overproduce hormones, triggering flushing. The symptom can also be a response to certain drugs, foods, alcohol, or menopause.
- Bone pain. People with medullary thyroid cancer may have bone pain if the cancer has spread to form bone lesions.
- Lethargy. Many people with advanced cancer may feel physically, emotionally, or mentally tired. The causes of fatigue during cancer are complex and not well understood.
- Weight loss. Unusual weight loss is a symptom of advanced medullary thyroid cancer that has spread beyond the thyroid into other organs.
How Is Thyroid Cancer Managed Or Treated
Treatments for thyroid cancer depend on the tumor size and whether the cancer has spread. Treatments include:
- Surgery: Surgery is the most common treatment for thyroid cancer. Depending on the tumors size and location, your surgeon may remove part of the thyroid gland or all of the gland . Your surgeon also removes any nearby lymph nodes where cancer cells have spread.
- Radioiodine therapy: With radioiodine therapy, you swallow a pill or liquid containing a higher dose of radioactive iodine than whats used in a diagnostic radioiodine scan. The radioiodine shrinks and destroys the diseased thyroid gland along with cancer cells. Dont be alarmed this treatment is very safe. Your thyroid gland absorbs almost all of the radioiodine. The rest of your body has minimal radiation exposure.
- Radiation therapy: Radiation kills cancer cells and stops them from growing. External radiation therapy uses a machine to deliver strong beams of energy directly to the tumor site. Internal radiation therapy involves placing radioactive seeds in or around the tumor.
- Chemotherapy: Intravenous or oral chemotherapy drugs kill cancer cells and stops cancer growth. Very few patients diagnosed with thyroid cancer will ever need chemotherapy.
- Hormone therapy: This treatment blocks the release of hormones that can cause cancer to spread or come back.
Treatments For Thyroid Cancer
Treatment for thyroid cancer depends on the type of thyroid cancer you have and how far it has spread.
The main treatments are:
- surgery; to remove part or all of the thyroid
- radioactive iodine treatment you swallow a radioactive substance that travels through your blood and kills the cancer cells
- external radiotherapy a machine is used to direct beams of radiation at the cancer cells to kill them
- chemotherapy and targeted therapies medicines used to kill cancer cells
After treatment, you’ll have follow-up appointments to check whether the cancer has come;back.
Read more about;how thyroid cancer is treated.
Articles On Thyroid Cancer
Your thyroid is shaped like a small butterfly, and is usually found inside the lower front of your neck. Itâs a gland that controls your metabolism. It also releases hormones that direct many functions in your body, including how you use energy, how you produce heat, and how you consume oxygen.
Thyroid cancer develops when cells change or mutate.Â;The abnormal cells begin multiplying in your thyroid and, once there are enough of them, they form a tumor.
If itâs caught early, thyroid cancer is one of the most treatable forms of cancer.
Thyroid Cancer: What Women Should Know
The symptoms start slowly. Fatigue is the most common. There might bechanges in hair, nails or skin, and other vague complaints that could becaused by aging, diet, stress or dozens of other factors.
Women in the prime of their lives, busy with work and families, may noteven notice. When a doctor finally diagnoses an underactivethyroiddue to cancer, it often comes as a shock.
Jonathon Russell, M.D., assistant professor ofOtolaryngology Head and Neck Surgeryat The Johns Hopkins Hospital, says, Typicalthyroid cancerpatients are women between the ages of 30 and 60younger than many peoplewould think. Theyre likely to put off getting seen by a doctor and mayblame their symptoms on other causes.
Final Thoughts On Knowing The Symptoms Of Thyroid Cancer
The American Cancer Society described thyroid cancer as the most rapidly increasing type of cancer in the US until recently. Much of that increase, however, stems from improved methods of detection, such as the MRI or CT.
If caught early, the prognosis for cancer of the thyroid is generally good. The Cleveland Clinic reported that over 90 percent of patients treated for papillary or follicular cancer, the most common types, were still alive five years later. The five-year survival rate for patients with MTC is somewhat less: 86 percent.
Unfortunately, the outlook for a patient with anaplastic cancer is far grimmer. Mercifully, anaplastic cancer is by far the least common type.
Most cases of cancer are diagnosed after the patient or their doctor spots a lump on the neck. Anybody who spots a lump on their neck should, therefore, have their doctor examine it, even if they feel fine otherwise.
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A Large Lump At The Base Of Your Neck
This symptom is what some physicians will notice incidentally during a physical exam by feeling a lump in your thyroid gland, which is typically painless, says Dr. Tuttle. If youve received radiation to your neck, especially, keep in mind that youre more at risk for developing thyroid cancer, says Dr. Sherman, so talk with your physician about examining your neck to make sure youre not developing one of these cancerous lumps.
What Are The Complications Of Thyroid Cancer
Most thyroid cancers respond well to treatment and arent life-threatening.
After thyroid surgery or treatments, your body still needs thyroid hormones to function. Youll need thyroid replacement hormone therapy for life. Synthetic thyroid hormones, such as levothyroxine , take over for the thyroid hormones that your body no longer naturally produces.
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Early Signs Of Thyroid Problems
If you are experiencing changes in your weight, vision problems, or increased sensitivity to shifts in temperature, you might have a thyroid problem. Instead of ignoring these early warning signs, you should schedule an appointment at the Medical Transformation Center in Louisville, KY. We can use a variety of techniques to address your thyroid problems and improve your health.
What To Know About 4 Symptoms That Could Signal This Type Of Highly Curable Cancer
by Michelle Crouch, AARP, July 15, 2021| 0
En español | You know it’s important to check your skin for unusual moles that could be melanoma and, if you’re a woman, to check your breasts for lumps that could signal breast cancer. But did you know you should also see a doctor if you notice any unusual swelling in your neck?
That’s a classic symptom of thyroid cancer, says Jonathon Russell, M.D., director of the Multi-Disciplinary Thyroid Tumor Center at Johns Hopkins Medicine.
About 45,000 Americans are diagnosed with thyroid cancer every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .
Thyroid cancer can occur at any age, but the risk peaks for women when they’re in their 40s or 50s, while most men are diagnosed in their 60s or 70s, according to the American Cancer Society. Women are three times more likely than men to develop thyroid cancer.
Until recently, thyroid cancer was the most rapidly increasing cancer in the U.S., largely due to better detection.
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What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor
If you have thyroid cancer, you may want to ask your healthcare provider:
- Why did I get thyroid cancer?
- What type of thyroid cancer do I have?
- Has the cancer spread outside of the thyroid gland?
- What is the best treatment for this type of thyroid cancer?
- What are the treatment risks and side effects?
- Will I need thyroid replacement hormone therapy?
- Is my family at risk for developing this type of thyroid cancer? If so, should we get genetic tests?
- Can I get thyroid cancer again?
- Am I at risk for other types of cancer?
- What type of follow-up care do I need after treatment?
- Should I look out for signs of complications?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Receiving a cancer diagnosis is unsettling, regardless of the type. Fortunately, most thyroid cancers respond extremely well to treatment. Your healthcare provider can discuss the best treatment option for the type of thyroid cancer you have. After treatment, you may need to take synthetic thyroid hormones for life. These hormones support vital body functions. They usually dont cause any significant side effects, but youll have regular checkups to monitor your health.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 08/13/2020.
Signs And Symptoms Of Thyroid Cancer
Thyroid cancer can cause any of the following signs or symptoms:
- A lump in the neck, sometimes growing quickly
- Swelling in the neck
- Pain in the front of the neck, sometimes going up to the ears
- Hoarseness or other voice changes that do not go away
- Trouble swallowing
- Trouble breathing
- A constant cough that is not due to a cold
If you have any of these signs or symptoms, talk to your doctor right away. Many of these symptoms can also be caused by non-cancerous conditions or even other cancers of the neck area. Lumps in the thyroid are common and are usually benign. Still, if you have any of these symptoms, its important to see your doctor so the cause can be found and treated, if needed.
Our team is made up of doctors and;oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.
Davidge-Pitts CJ and Thompson GB. Chapter 82: Thyroid Tumors. In: DeVita VT, Lawrence TS, Rosenberg SA, eds. DeVita, Hellman, and RosenbergsCancer: Principles and Practice of Oncology. 10th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2015.
National Cancer Institute. Physician Data Query . Thyroid Cancer Treatment. 05/23/2018. Accessed at https://www.cancer.gov/types/thyroid/patient/thyroid-treatment-pdq#_1. on February 20, 2019.
Last Revised: March 14, 2019
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Fatigue Where You Are Totally Exhausted
Fatigue;or feeling tired is a common indication of many problems. You may feel tired even when you do not eat properly. However, fatigue is strongly linked with hypothyroidism.
You feel tired round the clock, regardless of what you sleep, how much sleep, and how long you rest.
If you feel totally exhausted even after a good meal or a good nights sleep, it is an evident sign your thyroid isnt working.
The Often Overlooked Warning Signs Of Thyroid Cancer
The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2020, approximately 52,890 new cases of thyroid cancer will be diagnosed and that there will be approximately 2,180 deaths from thyroid cancer. While most thyroid cancer is found by accident, there are warning signs you should be aware of for a better chance of early detection.
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Symptoms Of Hypothyroidism In Adults
Despite affecting people of all ages and genders, hypothyroidism is most common in women who are middle-aged or older. Even if youve never been diagnosed with a thyroid problem in the past, certain symptoms could be cause for worry if you are of a certain age.
Most commonly, people who could be experiencing hypothyroidism will feel fatigued, even if they are getting enough sleep at night. They might feel more sensitive to cold or heat, have dry skin, gain weight, or feel more aches and tenderness in the muscles. Other common symptoms include irregular menstrual periods, thinning hair, memory loss, and depression.