Thyroid is a small gland located in the front of the neck below the larynx (voice box). It makes the hormones that regulate your metabolism, heart rate, temperature and mental functioning. 90% of thyroid tumours are non-cancerous. Women are thrice as likely to develop this cancer.
Thyroid cancer usually does not produce any symptoms apart from small, painless lumps in the front of the neck. Other symptoms that may occur due to the disease are:
Surgery: Usually, surgery is the only form of treatment for thyroid cancer. Depending on the type of tumour and its metastasis, one of the following operations may be indicated:
Thyroid Hormone Therapy: Normal hormonal balance is extremely important for health and preventing cancers from resurfacing. If the thyroid or a part of it has been surgically removed, you will be given thyroid replacement medication to restore the hormone levels.
Radioactive Iodine (RAI) Therapy: In this procedure, patients are orally given a dose of radioactive iodine. The cancerous thyroid cells absorb the iodine and are killed but healthy cells do not absorb the iodine. RAI therapy is usually recommended after surgery to destroy any abnormal cells left over.
Treatments for Advanced Cancers: Doctors may use other therapies in more advanced cases of thyroid cancer or if the cancer has returned. While another surgery may be recommended, head and neck specialists may get involved to preserve voice quality and the parathyroid gland. Chemoradiation, a combination of chemotherapy and radiation may also be administered. If the cancer keeps coming back, high doses of radiation may be given in what is called external beam radiation therapy. Medications may also be given to prevent bone loss or fracture.