Common types of thyroid cancer and tailored surgical treatments

Thyroid cancer, a relatively common malignancy affecting the thyroid gland, requires a comprehensive understanding and tailored treatment approaches. Among the various types, including papillary, follicular, medullary, and anaplastic thyroid cancer, surgical oncology plays a crucial role in thyroid cancer treatment in Kolkata. This article aims to delve into the characteristics of each type while highlighting the significance of thyroid cancer surgery in promoting successful outcomes.

Different types of thyroid cancer and tailored treatment approach

Though thyroid cancer surgery is the sole resounding answer in the face of malignancy, based on the nature of the thyroid cancer, the surgical approach is tailored and customized.

  1. Papillary Thyroid Cancer: Papillary thyroid cancer is the most prevalent form, typically diagnosed in individuals aged 30 to 50. Despite its common occurrence, most cases of papillary thyroid cancer respond favorably to treatment, even when lymph nodes in the neck are affected. Surgical intervention, such as a total or near-total thyroidectomy, remains the primary treatment approach. This procedure involves removing the entire or a significant portion of the thyroid gland, providing the best chance of long-term survival and reducing the risk of recurrence.
  2. Follicular Thyroid Cancer: Follicular thyroid cancer is relatively rare and commonly diagnosed in individuals over the age of 50. While it generally does not metastasize to lymph nodes, larger and more aggressive tumors may spread to other areas, particularly the lungs, and bones. Surgical management typically involves a total or near-total thyroidectomy to eliminate the cancerous cells. Close monitoring and postoperative radioactive iodine therapy may also be employed to address potential metastatic lesions.
  3. Medullary Thyroid Cancer: Originating from the C cells that produce the hormone calcitonin, medullary thyroid cancer requires a specialized approach. Early detection is possible through monitoring elevated levels of calcitonin in the blood. Surgical intervention, such as total or near-total thyroidectomy with central lymph node dissection, remains the primary treatment. In certain cases, prophylactic removal of nearby lymph nodes may be recommended to minimize the risk of spread. Genetic testing is essential as some medullary thyroid cancers are associated with a gene mutation called RET, warranting early intervention and monitoring for familial medullary thyroid cancer and multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2.
  4. Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer: Anaplastic thyroid cancer is a rare, aggressive form of the disease that primarily affects older individuals. Due to its rapid growth and challenging treatment landscape, a multidisciplinary approach involving surgical oncologists, radiation oncologists, and medical oncologists is crucial. Surgery aims to alleviate symptoms, improve quality of life, and, in some cases, achieve local disease control. Although the prognosis can be challenging, treatments like surgery, radiation therapy, and targeted therapies can help manage the disease’s progression and provide hope for patients.

The Role of Surgical Oncology:

Surgical oncology plays a pivotal role in the management of thyroid cancer across all types. Surgeons with expertise in thyroidectomy and neck dissection techniques perform precise and comprehensive procedures to achieve optimal outcomes. Thyroid cancer surgery aims to remove the affected tissue, minimize the risk of recurrence, and assess the extent of the disease. The best thyroid cancer surgeon in Kolkata also works closely with endocrinologists and pathologists to determine the appropriate surgical strategy and tailor treatment plans for individual patients.