A woman’s body goes through innumerable changes throughout her life span. Right from reaching puberty to menopause to post menopause phase, the body experience hormonal changes and the subsequent effects that come along. Certain changes in the body are not always hormonal and could be a sign of cancer. Of the most talked about cancers in females, there seems to be less awareness about cancer of the thyroid gland.
The thyroid gland is a butterfly shaped organ at the base of the neck. This gland plays a significantly important role in our body by influencing function of heart, brain, liver, metabolism and skin.
The thyroid gland is susceptible to cancerous growth and females are at higher risk of this cancer. This type of cancer arises from epithelial cells in the gland. When the hormonal balance of the thyroid is affected, it enlarges and this is calledgoitre. Over 10% of goitres develop to be malignant.There are 4 types of thyroid cancers
- Papillary/follicular thyroid cancer: This is the most common type and affects around 80% women. This cancer has high cure rate. In this type of cancer abnormal growth arises from the thyroid tissue.
- Follicular/Hurthle cell thyroid cancer: Affects around 15% percent of people and usually emerges in old age. It is more aggressive than papillary cancer.
- Medullary thyroid cancer: This kind originates from the para-follicular cells (C cells) in the gland and makes up about 3% of all thyroid cancer. It has a much lower cure rate.
- Anaplastic thyroid cancer: Over 2% of the total cases are identified with this types of cancer. This cancer arises from a goitre and grows quickly. By the time it is the detected, anaplastic cancer is observed to have spread within the neck.
The cause of thyroid cancer is not accurately known. However it can be triggered due to environmental or genetic factors.
The most primary symptom of thyroid cancer is growth of nodule or lump in the thyroid region of the neck and this lump would seem to grow quickly.Swelling in the neck or pain in the front of the neck or if this pain shoots towards the ears are also some symptoms. Another observed symptoms for thyroid cancer are changes or hoarseness in voice, trouble while swallowing or trouble while breathing. A constant cough that is not due to cold could also be an indication.
Treatment for Thyroid Cancer:
Surgery is widely used for treating thyroid cancer. The cancerous growth is removed either by cutting out the smaller part where the cancer is observed or the entire gland is removed. When the cancerous growth is around the neck area, surgery is used to remove the lymph nodes. Apart from surgery there are other methods of treating thyroid cancer. Radiation Therapy: Significant dose of high energy rays are used to eradicate the cancer cells.Hormone therapy: Where patients are given daily thyroid hormone replacement pill. And the third method could be chemotherapy, where drugs are used to kill cancer cells.
In case you experience any of the above mentioned symptoms, contact an endocrinologist for consultation. Understand the nature of symptoms and the possible treatment. Thyroid cancers in most cases are curable. However, a lot depends on the credibility of the doctor and the institution.