When cancer develops in the cells of the thyroid, it is known as thyroid cancer. It is a butterfly-shaped gland. Its location is at the base of your neck and just below your Adam’s apple. The function of it is to produce hormones that regulate your blood pressure, heart rate, weight and body temperature. There are several types of thyroid cancer. Some of these types can be very aggressive whereas the others grow very slowly. With proper treatment, it is possible to cure most cases.
In the early stage, there are normally no symptoms. It may cause the following symptoms as it grows.
- A lump (nodule) that one can feel through the skin on your neck
- Increasing hoarseness and other changes in your voice
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Swollen lymph nodes in your neck
- Pain in your throat and neck
Consult with an oncologist in Kolkata if you have these symptoms.
Types Of Thyroid Cancer
After examining a tissue sample from your cancer, the doctor can determine the type of thyroid cancer you have. Finding the type is important for deciding your treatment and prognosis.
- Papillary Thyroid Cancer: This is the most common form and arises from the follicular cells that produce and store thyroid hormones.
- Follicular Thyroid Cancer: This also arises from the follicular cells of the thyroid.
- Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer: This is a rare type that begins in the follicular cells.
- Medullary Thyroid Cancer: In the thyroid cells called C cells, medullary thyroid cancer begins. These cells produce the hormone calcitonin.
- Other rare types: Thyroid sarcoma that begins in the connective tissue cells of the thyroid and thyroid lymphoma that begins in the immune system cells of the thyroid fall under other rare types of thyroid cancer.
To feel for physical changes in your thyroid such as thyroid nodules, a cancer doctor in Howrah will examine your neck. He/she may also suggest some tests.
- Blood Tests: The doctor can know whether the thyroid gland is functioning normally or not through these tests.
- Ultrasound Imaging: This test helps to create images of your thyroid gland and images of the neck nodes. It provides a lot of information when done by an expert.
- CT Scan Neck with Contrast: This test is useful to assess the local extent of the tumour in the neck.
- FNAC: The doctor uses a long, thin needle during a fine-needle aspiration biopsy to remove samples of suspicious thyroid tissue. We send the sample to the laboratory for checking the presence of cancer cells.
- Whole Body Radioiodine Scan: The doctor takes the help of this special test to see the extent of the spreading of tumour cells and to assess post-Surgery status.
- Serum Thyroglobulin: This is a special blood test that helps to assess the quantitative response to therapy and use it as a measure in follow up cases.
- Serum Calcitonin: The use of this test is to assess tumour load and quantitative response to therapy in cases of Medullary Carcinoma of Thyroid.
Treatment For Thyroid Cancer
There are different options for thyroid cancer treatment in Kolkata.
To remove the thyroid, most people may have to undergo surgery. The different surgical procedures are:
- Total Thyroidectomy: The purpose of this surgery is removing all thyroid tides while preserving the parathyroid glands and the recurrent laryngeal nerves.
- Lymph Node Dissection: All diagnosed thyroid cancer cases must undergo central compartment lymph node dissection. In cases of clinically positive neck node, it is necessary to perform modified radical neck dissection of that side or both sides.
- Radioiodine Therapy: It is used as completion of therapy, i.e. after a complete surgery done by a cancer surgeon. It is done under the watchful supervision of the doctors of the Department of Nuclear Medicine.
Chemotherapy, external radiation therapy and targeted drug therapy are some other treatment options that are applicable for a few selected cases and should only be implemented if advised by trained oncologists.