Thyroid cancer refers to a malignant growth made up of cells that resemble the thyroid gland. They begin to grow and multiply uncontrollably, causing further problems. It is a form of cancer affecting both men and women. This can develop in the beginning from a benign condition called ‘adenoma’ which is noncancerous and slow growing type of tumour.
The patient does not require any treatment other than regular follow-up through the endocrinologist once every 6 months for detection of changes in size or protein content.
It may also be caused by certain drugs or radiation therapy for cancer in other areas of the body as well for as some types of hereditary disease.
Is thyroid cancer fully curable?
Yes, thyroid cancer is one of the most curable cancers if it’s diagnosed and treated early. But if it isn’t detected early enough or spreads to other parts of the body, it can be fatal.
The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2019, about 65,000 people will be diagnosed with thyroid cancer and approximately 1,950 will die from it in the United States alone.
Types of thyroid cancer
Thyroid cancer is rare, but it’s the most common type of endocrine cancer (cancer that begins in hormone-producing cells). It accounts for about 1 percent of all cancers in men and women combined.
Types of thyroid cancer include:
- Papillary thyroid cancer
This is the most common form of thyroid cancer, accounting for about 70 percent of cases. The cells are arranged in small clusters (nests) that may be surrounded by fibrous tissue called a capsule.
Papillary thyroid cancers grow slowly and tend to stay within one lobe of the gland. They’re usually found early because they often cause symptoms such as a lump or enlargement of part of your neck.
- Follicular thyroid cancer
This type accounts for 10 to 15 percent of all thyroid cancers and grows more quickly than papillary tumors, but not as quickly as anaplastic carcinoma or medullary carcinoma.
Follicular thyroid cancers grow within an intact capsule, so they don’t produce signs and symptoms until they’re larger than 1 centimetre (0.4 inches).
What is the usual treatment for thyroid cancer?
The thyroid cancer treatment depends on the type of cancer, the location and extent of the disease, and your general health.
The goal of treatment is to remove all of the cancer, while minimising or eliminating any damage to normal tissues.
Thyroid surgery is usually needed to remove the entire cancerous thyroid gland. Sometimes just part of the thyroid gland needs to be removed if only a small area is affected by cancer.
The entire thyroid gland may need to be removed if there are multiple tumours, if they have spread beyond the thyroid gland, or if they are too large to safely remove without damaging vital structures nearby.
If you don’t want to lose your voice box (larynx) during surgery, it’s possible that nerve-sparing surgery can be performed on your larynx during removal of your entire thyroid gland.
This surgery removes as much as possible of your thyroid gland while leaving your voice box intact so you can speak normally afterward. It’s important that you discuss the option with your doctor before surgery so that it will be done if necessary during surgery.
Get in touch with Amandela ENT, your thyroid specialist in Singapore
If you or your loved one has been diagnosed with thyroid cancer, take the time to know what you’re up against. Not all thyroid cancer is the same and some varieties are much more dangerous than others.
The first thing you should know is that thyroid cancer is highly curable if dealt with in the early stages. That said, once it progresses into advanced stages, the outlook becomes much more grim, but early detection is key! Contact any of our thyroid specialist in Singapore for more information.