Thyroid cancer is a cancer that starts in the thyroid gland. This gland is at the base of the throat near the windpipe. There are four types of thyroid cancer, including papillary (the most common), follicular, medullary and anaplastic.
People who have been exposed to radiation or received radiation treatments to the head and neck during infancy or childhood have an increased risk. Also, people who have an enlarged thyroid, also known as a goiter, or who have a family history of thyroid cancer, have a higher risk of developing the disease.
Papillary thyroid cancer is one of the most curable cancers when treated early. Reporting unusual symptoms as soon as they are noticed, such as a neck lump or nodule, to your physician can help in the early detection and treatment of thyroid cancer.
St. Luke’s Cancer Center employs a team-approach to diagnose and treat thyroid cancer to provide the most appropriate treatment options for the type of thyroid cancer.
Symptoms of thyroid cancer can include:
- A lump in the neck
- Swelling in the neck
- Pain in the front of the neck that can radiate up to the ears.
- Hoarseness or other voice changes that do not go away
- A constant cough that is not due to a cold
- Trouble swallowing
- Trouble breathing
The treatment of the thyroid cancer depends on several factors, including the age of the patient, the stage of the cancer and a patient's general health.
Treatments may include:
- Surgery is the most common treatment of thyroid cancer and may be any of the following types:
- Near-total thyroidectomy
- Total thyroidectomy
- Radiation therapy
- Radioactive iodine therapy
- Thyroid hormone therapy
- Access to promising clinical trials
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