Thyroid Cancer Treatment
Thyroid cancer treatment options include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, The thyroid gland is a small gland which makes important hormones that help in all the functions of body.
The hormones produced by the thyroid gland regulate every aspect of human metabolism. The body functions normally with the help of thyroid gland. The thyroid cancer is the growth of malignant cells in this thyroid gland.
Nodules which are fluid filled lumps are developed in the thyroid sometimes. These nodules are of two types the cancerous and the noncancerous. The former are rare the later are more common. The rare type cause serious complications which result in the thyroid cancer.
The probable causes of thyroid cancer or the various risk factors are age factor, exposure to radiations in the past, people who have a family history of thyroid cancer or who had already goiter which is an enlarged thyroid. Women are at high risk than men.
Major Thyroid Cancer Treatment Options
The goal of thyroid cancer treatments is to get rid of the cancer cells in the body. The treatment option depends on age, the type of thyroid cancer, the stage of the cancer, and overall general health of the patient.
The four major treatments available for patients with thyroid cancer are as follows:
Surgery is the most common thyroid cancer treatment. It is used to remove the part of the thyroid gland that contains cancer. Removing one part (lobe) is called a lobectomy. Removing both lobes is called a thyroidectomy.
A doctor may remove the cancer using one of the following operations:
- Lobectomy: In this type of surgery only the part of the thyroid which is cancerous is removed. Lymph nodes in the area may be taken out for biopsy.
- Near-total thyroidectomy is the other method of surgery which removes the entire thyroid just leaving a small part.
- Total thyroidectomy removes the entire thyroid.
- Lymph node dissection removes lymph nodes in the neck that contain cancer.
If the patient is not in a position to undergo surgery than the option left for treatment is the Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) suppression therapy. This reduces the TSH which helps in controlling the cancer cells.
Radiation therapy is the thyroid cancer treatment method which uses high-energy x-rays to kill cancer cells or to shrink the tumors. This method is of two types the external and the internal radiation therapy.
The former comes from a machine outside the body and the other method involves inducing a substance which contains radioactive iodine into the body in the form of liquid. The radiation therapy method of thyroid cancer treatment is given after few weeks of surgery in order to kill the remaining of the cancer cells left during surgery.
Thyroid Cancer Treatment with Chemotherapy
Chemotherapy uses drugs or medications to kill cancer cells. The doctor may recommend chemotherapy following surgery to kill any cancer cells that may have spread outside the thyroid.
This thyroid cancer treatment often involves receiving two or more drugs in different combinations Chemotherapy may be taken by pill orally, or it may be put into the body by a needle in the vein or muscle intravenously.
Chemotherapy is called a systemic treatment because the drug enters the bloodstream, travels through the body, and can kill cancer cells outside the thyroid.