What is Thyroid Cancer?
Thyroid cancer is a form of cancer that occurs in the thyroid gland. Located at the front of your neck, the thyroid gland produces hormones that help in controlling body temperature, digestive and heart functions and weight.
Thyroid cancer occurs more often in women than in men and, in many cases, can be cured with treatment.
Diagnosing thyroid cancer
Your physician may diagnose thyroid cancer through a physical exam, blood tests or a tissue sample. If thyroid cancer is detected, you may be referred to an oncologist. Your physician might conduct imaging tests (CT scan, ultrasound, PET scan) to determine whether the cancer has spread beyond the thyroid gland.
Thyroid Cancer Treatment
Surgery is among the most common of treatment options for people with thyroid cancer. In this instance, all or most of the thyroid is removed. Additional treatment options include radioactive iodine treatment, chemotherapy, targeted drug therapy and alcohol injections.
Thyroid cancer surgery recovery
Following surgery, you will be prescribed a thyroid medication. A thyroid medication will replace the normal thyroid hormone as well as suppress the production of hormones that may stimulate the growth of remaining cancer cells.
Blood tests to check your thyroid hormone levels are required every few months until an appropriate dosage is determined by your physician. This will likely continue on an annual basis.
Another common post-operative procedure is radioactive iodine treatment. This process destroys any remaining healthy thyroid tissue and thyroid cancer. In this instance, you may be advised to avoid contact with other people for a number of days (specifically children and pregnant women).