Thyroid Cancer: Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment Options

Thyroid cancer is a cancer which affects a gland in the neck which is called the thyroid gland. Understanding the symptoms of thyroid cancer can help you to catch it as quickly as possible. As with all cancers, the sooner treatment is started, the better the prognosis. Below is a guide to the symptoms of thyroid cancer and the treatments which are available to combat the disease.

Symptoms

The symptoms of thyroid cancer may include the following:

  • Swelling on the front of your neck
  • Persistent hoarse voice
  • Persistent sore throat
  • Trouble swallowing food or drink

If you experience any of these symptoms, you should contact your doctor.

Diagnosis

If they suspect you may have thyroid cancer, your doctor will perform some tests These include a blood test so your doctor can monitor how your thyroid is functioning by measuring hormone levels. 

If the blood test suggests that there could be a problem with your thyroid, your doctor will refer you to a hospital for further tests. At the hospital, you may be given an ultrasound scan to check for the presence of a tumour. If a tumour is located, the medical staff at the hospital will take a biopsy sample which will be examined in a lab. The biopsy involves inserting a small needle into the thyroid gland so a small amount of tissue can be removed. If the biopsy comes back positive for cancerous cells, you will then be given a computerised tomography (CT) scan, which will allow the doctors to see if the cancer has spread to any other organs in your body.

Treatment

The treatment you receive will depend on how advanced the cancer is. The main treatments used to combat thyroid cancer include:

Surgery

Surgery aims to remove the cancerous growth from your body. This may include removing the entire thyroid gland. If the whole thyroid is removed, you may need to take medication on a long-term basis once the operation is complete in order to replace the hormones that would usually be created by the thyroid.

Oral Iodine 

This treatment involves swallowing radioactive iodine. The iodine will enter your blood and will kill the cancerous cells in your thyroid.

Radiotherapy

Radiotherapy involves blasting the cancerous cells with high doses of radiation in order to damage and kill the malignant cells.

If you would like to find out more, you should contact your local health care clinic today.

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