Thyroid cancer – explained in a nutshell

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Thyroid cancer – explained in a nutshell

What is thyroid gland? 

The thyroid gland is a small, butterfly-shaped gland located in the lower front of the neck, above the collarbones, and below the voice box (larynx). Your thyroid gland makes hormones that help control the function of many of your body’s organs, including your heart, brain, liver, kidneys, and skin. 

How to check for growths in thyroid?

Hold the mirror in your hand, focusing on the lower front area of your neck, above the collarbones, and below the voice box (larynx). Your thyroid gland is located in this area of your neck. While focusing on this area in the mirror, tip your head back. Take a drink of water and swallow. As you swallow, look at your neck. Check for any bulges or protrusions in this area when you swallow.

You may want to repeat this process several times. If you do see any bulges or protrusions in this area, see your physician

Good news – 95% of thyroid nodules are benign, only 5% turn out to be cancerous.

But you need to consult a doctor to find out - so they will do thyroid function tests, ultrasound of the neck and an FNAC test

If it turns out to be cancerous – treatment is surgery. Good news is  - Chemotherapy or radiation therapy are not usually required for treating thyroid cancer. Good surgery is critical for treatment – because sometimes complications like fall in calcium levels in the body and voice change can occur. In the hands of experienced surgeons – these risks are low. 

Sometimes, if the cancer is large or it has spread to lymph nodes – patients may require treatment called radioiodine treatment – it is a totally painless treatment where a small amount of radioactive iodine substance has to be ingested. 

To conclude , among all cancers,  thyroid cancer is a very favourable cancer in the sense – more than 95% of cancers are curable. 

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(M.Ch and D.N.B Surgical Oncology) Surgical Oncologist, Minimally invasive (Robotic and Laparoscopic) Surgeon at Medicover Hospital, Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh


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