Thyroid Cancer Treatment
Thyroid cancer starts in the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is found on the front of the neck, just below the Adam’s apple. This gland isn’t something you can usually feel, and it’s shaped a little bit like a butterfly with tissue that wraps around either side of your trachea (windpipe).
Many people have non-cancerous thyroid problems. The thyroid may send out too much thyroid hormone, or not enough. These conditions (hyperthyroidism & hypothyroidism) are very common and can be treated.
Thyroid cancer is a different problem. Because the thyroid is made of several different kinds of cells, there are several types of thyroid cancer and they each require treatment.
There are about 62,900 new thyroid cancer cases in the U.S. each year. 42,000 of those are in women and 2 out of every 3 cases are in people age 55 or younger. Thyroid cancer is the most rapidly increasing cancer in America.1
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Thyroid Cancer Causes
Thyroid cancers occur more often in:
- Women (usually in their 40’s or 50’s)
- Those with an Iodine deficiency
- People previously exposed to radiation
- People with family history of medullary thyroid cancer
Thyroid Cancer Symptoms
Early symptoms of thyroid cancer can include a lump or knot on the front of the throat. If you find a lump, have a doctor check it as soon as possible. Any changes in the thyroid may also be identified by a medical provider during a normal physical, or accidentally if you have an ultrasound of your neck or throat for another reason.
Thyroid Cancer Treatment
Many cases of thyroid cancer are found early and can be treated effectively. A medical provider will likely need to do additional tests to see if the cancer has spread to other areas of the neck, or even other areas of your body.
Once tests are finished, you will probably need to see more than one type of medical specialist. A surgeon, endocrinologist and oncologist will work together to remove and treat the cancer.
Treatment can include any combination of the following:
- Radioactive iodine
- Thyroid hormone medication
Thyroid Cancer Support
After cancer treatment, it can be hard to relax and not worry. That’s a very normal part of life after cancer. Your medical provider or a team of providers will be watching you closely. Make sure you attend all of your follow-up appointments and complete any tests to monitor for signs the cancer may come back.
Usually, if you have no signs of cancer 6-12 months after treatment, your provider may say your cancer is in remission. Many people with thyroid cancer have gone on to lead happy, healthy lives.
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1All statistics from American Cancer Society