Cancer that develops in the cells of the thyroid, a butterfly-shaped gland situated just below your Adam’s apple, is called thyroid cancer. Dr. Suvadip Chakrabarti, a renowned oncologist in Kolkata, explained that thyroid cancer might not show any signs or symptoms at first. However, as it develops, it can cause neck pain and swelling.

Papillary thyroid cancer occurs from follicular cells, which contain and store thyroid hormones, and is the most common form of thyroid cancer. Papillary thyroid cancer may strike at any age, but it is most common in people between the ages of 30 and 50.

Papillary thyroid cancer, along with follicular thyroid cancer, is often referred to as differentiated thyroid cancer by doctors.

What are the signs and symptoms

As per the surgical oncologist in Kolkata, patients with papillary thyroid cancer may experience the following:

  • Difficulty in swallowing food or pills
  • Lump in the neck, which you can see or feel
  • Hoarseness or sore throat that does not improve
  • Troubled breathing, specifically when lying down

Does papillary thyroid cancer grow slowly

Papillary thyroid cancer, the most common form, develops very slowly. They are the same size in an 80-year-old as they were in a 40-year-old. Papillary carcinoma most often appears as a solid, irregular, or cystic mass in otherwise healthy thyroid tissue. This form of cancer has a high cure rate, with 10-year survival rates for all papillary thyroid cancer individuals estimated to be over 90%.

What are the different stages of papillary thyroid cancer

This staging system for thyroid cancer varies depending on the type of tumour. The stage of papillary or follicular thyroid cancer is also determined by the patient’s age, said the cancer surgeon in Kolkata.

Papillary thyroid cancer in individuals younger than 55

  • Stage I: A tumour (any T) with or without lymph node spread (any N) and no distant metastasis (M0) is classified as stage I.
  • Stage II: This stage refers to any tumour (any T) with any metastasis (M1), whether or not it has spread to the lymph nodes (any N).

Papillary thyroid cancer in patients 55 and above

  • Stage I: Any small tumour (T1) that has not spread to lymph nodes (N0) and has not metastasized (M0).
  • Stage II: This stage denotes a bigger, non-invasive tumour (T2) with no lymph node spread (N0) or metastasis (M0).
  • Stage III: This stage denotes a tumour greater than 4 cm that is still located in the thyroid (T3) and has not spread to the lymph nodes (N0) or metastasized (M0). Alternatively, any locally advanced tumour (T1, T2, or T3) that has spread to the central compartment of lymph nodes (N1a) but has not spread elsewhere (M0).
  • Stage IVA: This stage denotes a tumour that has spread to surrounding structures (T4a), irrespective of whether it has spread to lymph nodes (any N), but not to distant locations (M0). Alternatively, a localised tumour (T1, T2, or T3) with lymph node spread beyond the central compartment (N1b), but no distant spread (M0) is also referred to as stage IVA.
  • Stage IVB: This stage denotes a tumour that has spread beyond surrounding structures (T4b), regardless of whether it has spread to lymph nodes (any N), but has not spread far (M0).
  • Stage IVC: It identifies all the tumours (any T, any N), wherein there is evidence of distant spread (M1).

What are the Surgical Treatment Options

Thyroid cancer is usually treated with surgery that involves the removal of the thyroid. The type of thyroid cancer, its size, whether it has spread beyond the thyroid, and the findings of an ultrasound scan of the entire thyroid gland will all influence which procedure the cancer doctor in Kolkata recommends. The operations performed may involve any of these – total thyroidectomy/near-total thyroidectomy, thyroid lobectomy, and lymph node dissection.