Thyroid Cancer

According to the American Cancer Society, nearly 50,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with thyroid cancer each year.  While thyroid cancer isn’t the deadliest form of the disease—nearly 2,000 people die from the disease every 12 months—it is serious. Treatment is often painful, and the symptoms affect everything from a person’s ability to regulate body temperature, keep their hair, walk and enjoy a good, pain-free quality of life. The effects on a person’s body largely depend on what type of cancer a person is diagnosed with. Today, science knows of four types: Anaplastic carcinoma Anaplastic carcinoma is the most aggressive and lethal of the cancers that affect people’s thyroid glands. Luckily it is also relatively rare; only two out of every 2 million people will be diagnosed with it, and only one out of every person with thyroid cancer has anaplastic carcinoma. Its symptoms, which usually occur in people over the age of 60, begin with moderate to severe pain in the neck, where the thyroid gland is located on the body. Eventually, as the cancer progresses, the neck area begins to quickly enlarge. Traditional treatments for anaplastic carcinoma include radiation, chemotherapy and surgery. None has proven successful.   Follicular carcinoma About 15 percent of the 50,000 thyroid cancer diagnoses in the United States each year will be follicular carcinoma. It is, according to the Centers for Disease Control, the second-most common type of cancer in the thyroid gland. It is also one of the most aggressive. Its symptoms, which typically occur in people over the age of 40, start with a hoarse voice, difficulty swallowing and difficulty breathing. Eventually, the symptoms progress to neck pain and swollen lymph nodes. In advanced cases, follicular carcinoma can spread to other parts of the body, specifically the lungs and bones. Traditional treatments include surgery and injections of radioactive iodine. Surgery can range from relatively minor procedures where only the small area affected by the tumor is removed to more aggressive procedures that can leave a patient unable to talk or swallow without difficulty. However, all three of the most common traditional treatment options have proven successful. shutterstock_82853839Medullary Carcinoma The third most common form of thyroid cancer is medullary carcinoma. It affects about 3 percent of people diagnosed with the disease and, like the other forms of thyroid cancer, is more common in women than men. The most common, and effective, traditional treatment for medullary carcinoma is a thyroidectomy, during which all of the patient’s lymph nodes and fatty tissues of the neck are removed from the side of the neck where the cancer is present. The traditional treatment has proven successful in helping patients live longer, higher-quality lives. Papillary carcinoma Of the 50,000 Americans who are diagnosed with thyroid cancer each year, most have papillary carcinoma. It accounts for 85 percent, or about 43,000, of all new cases of thyroid cancer and can appear in people as young as 30 years old. Experts believe that most people who develop papillary carcinoma do so because of exposure to radiation. Papillary carcinoma symptoms begin with a small lump on the neck, under the chin or jaw bone. Eventually that lump can result in neck pain, difficulty swallowing and a hoarse voice, although there is often no pain associated with the symptoms. If left untreated, the cancer can spread to other parts of the body, including the lungs and lymph nodes. The treatments for papillary carcinoma includes surgery during which the tumor, or tumors, are removed from the body, or radioactive iodine therapy. Both treatments, which are often used together, have proven very successful.   Thyroid Cancer is one of the most treatable forms of this deadly disease. The key is early detection. To learn more about what may be causing your thyroid condition, download our FREE REPORT and diagnose your thyroid symptoms, or schedule an ASSESSMENT with one of our physicians TODAY!