Thyroid cancer occurs in the cells of the thyroid gland that is located at the base of the neck and can be treated. There is no particular cause of the disease that has been detected as yet, and it is usually thought to be a result of multiple factors. This article explores various methods of treatment for the disease and also lists out some of the preventative measures for thyroid cancer.
Detection of thyroid cancer
There are different types of thyroid cancer — some of them are more aggressive and difficult to treat than others. The type of cancer and its stage need to be detected before treatment can commence as the latter is dependant on the former. Thyroid cancer, in many cases, is detected during a routine examination when the doctor observes a lump or nodule in the neck.
After this, one needs to go through blood tests to check the functioning of the thyroid, ultrasound scanning, and a biopsy, where a sample of the tissue is removed to test in a lab to check for the presence of thyroid cancer.
Treatment of thyroid cancer
- At very early stages, thyroid cancer may not require any treatment and may actually turn out to be benign. In such cases, the cancerous cells may not grow and would not pose any problems. Despite this, regular screenings are recommended to monitor the nodules.
- One of the most common treatment methods is the removal of the thyroid, known as thyroidectomy. This may involve partial removal of the thyroid or thyroid lobectomy. If the cancerous cells seem to be growing fast, the entire thyroid is removed. Lymph nodes in the neck may also be removed if cancer has spread.
- Hormone therapy is used along with surgery to treat this disease. It ensures the body gets thyroxine and other hormones that the thyroid supplies to the body. It also keeps the production of the hormone TSH in check.
- Radioactive iodine treatment can be given along with surgery. This helps to remove cancerous cells that were not destroyed in surgery. It is helpful in preventing the return of cancer.
- Radiotherapy and chemotherapy can be given for certain forms of thyroid cancer, especially when it is not possible to carry out surgery due to other reasons.
There are preventative measures for thyroid cancer that can be taken to deter its development. Some of these measures are as follows:
- Removal of the thyroid gland to prevent cancerous cell growth. This is an extreme measure and used only when the patient is at a high risk of developing thyroid cancer.
- Exposure to radiation is a major risk that can lead to thyroid cancer. Care must be taken to prevent radiation exposure in the head and neck area.
- A healthy diet can help in preventing cancer. More fruits and vegetables in the diet and less animal fat is beneficial for those at-risk. Omega-3 fatty acids in the diet can help prevent cancer.
- Regular screening can be done once a year to detect cancer at an early stage. This is a useful preventative measure.