Thyroid Cancer

What is Thyroid Cancer?

Cancer starts when cells begin to grow out of control. Thyroid cancer is a type of cancer that starts in the thyroid gland - a butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of your neck, just below your Adam's apple. The thyroid gland makes hormones that help regulate your metabolism, heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature. Most cases of thyroid cancer can be cured with treatment.

What causes thyroid cancer?
Thyroid cancer is linked with a number of inherited conditions, but the exact cause of most thyroid cancers is not yet known. Certain changes in a person's DNA can cause thyroid cells to become cancerous. DNA is the chemical in each of our cells that makes up our genes - the instructions for how our cells function. It also can influence our risk for developing certain diseases, including some kinds of cancer.

We at CAN-C provide top-quality thyroid cancer treatment in Bangalore.

Here, you will find information about signs and symptoms, causes and risk factors, types, diagnosis, staging and prevention about thyroid cancer.

Thyroid cancer can cause any of the following signs or symptoms:


A lump in the neck, sometimes growing quickly


Swelling in the neck


Pain in the front of the neck, sometimes going up to the ears


Hoarseness or other voice changes that do not go away


Trouble swallowing


Trouble breathing


A constant cough that is not due to a cold

We offer every individual with a comprehensive and personalized treatment plan for their thyroid cancer treatment in Bangalore.

A risk factor is anything that increases a person's chance of getting a disease such as cancer. Different cancers have different risk factors. Even if a person with thyroid cancer has a risk factor, it is very hard to know how much that risk factor may have contributed to the cancer and some of them are listed below:


Age: Thyroid cancer can occur at any age, but the risk peaks earlier for women (who are most often in their 40s or 50s when diagnosed) than for men.


Hereditary conditions: Several inherited conditions have been linked to different types of thyroid cancer, as has family history. Still, most people who develop thyroid cancer do not have an inherited condition or a family history of the disease.


Iodine in the diet: Diet high in iodine may increase the risk of papillary thyroid cancer.


Radiation: Radiation exposure is a proven risk factor for thyroid cancer. Sources of such radiation include certain medical treatments and radiation fallout from power plant accidents and as such.

CAN-C: Expert specialists in thyroid cancer treatment (in Bangalore).

The main types of thyroid cancer are:


Differentiated (including papillary, follicular and Hurthle cell):
Most thyroid cancers are differentiated cancers. The cells in these cancers look a lot like normal thyroid tissue. These cancers develop from thyroid follicular cells.

Papillary cancer (also called papillary carcinomas or papillary adenocarcinomas): These cancers tend to grow very slowly and usually develop in only one lobe of the thyroid gland. Even though they grow slowly, papillary cancers often spread to the lymph nodes in the neck. Even when these cancers have spread to the lymph nodes, they can often be treated successfully and are rarely fatal.

There are several subtypes of papillary cancers. Of these, the follicular subtype (also called mixed papillary-follicular variant) is most common. Other subtypes of papillary carcinoma (columnar, tall cell, insular, and diffuse sclerosing) are not as common and tend to grow and spread more quickly.

Follicular cancer (also called follicular carcinoma or follicular adenocarcinoma): Follicular cancer is the next most common type. It is more common in people who don't get enough iodine in their diet. These cancers usually do not spread to lymph nodes, but they can spread to other parts of the body, such as the lungs or bones.

Hurthle (Hurthle) cell cancer (also called oxyphil cell carcinoma): About 3% of thyroid cancers are this type. It is harder to find and to treat.


Medullary thyroid cancer (MTC) accounts for about 4% of thyroid cancers. It develops from the C cells of the thyroid gland, which normally make calcitonin, a hormone that helps control the amount of calcium in blood. Sometimes this cancer can spread to lymph nodes, the lungs, or liver even before a thyroid nodule is discovered.

This type of thyroid cancer is more difficult to find and treat. There are 2 types of MTC:

Sporadic MTC: It occurs mostly in older adults and often affects only one thyroid lobe.

Familial MTC: It is inherited and can occur in each generation of a family. These cancers often develop during childhood or early adulthood and can spread early. Patients usually have cancer in several areas of both lobes. Familial MTC is often linked with an increased risk of other types of tumors.


Anaplastic (an aggressive cancer):
Anaplastic carcinoma (also called undifferentiated carcinoma) is a rare form of thyroid cancer, making up about 2% of all thyroid cancers. It is thought to sometimes develop from an existing papillary or follicular cancer. This cancer is called undifferentiated because the cancer cells do not look very much like normal thyroid cells. This cancer often spreads quickly into the neck and to other parts of the body, and is very hard to treat.

Thyroid cancer may be diagnosed after a person goes to a doctor because of symptoms, or it might be found during a routine physical exam or other tests. If there is a reason to suspect you might have thyroid cancer, your doctor will use one or more tests to confirm the diagnosis.


Medical history and physical exam: If you have any signs or symptoms that suggest you might have thyroid cancer, your health care professional will want to know your complete medical history. You will be asked questions about your possible risk factors, symptoms, and any other health problems or concerns.


Imaging tests: Imaging tests may be done for a number of reasons: to help find suspicious areas that might be cancer, to learn how far cancer may have spread, to help determine if treatment is working. People who have or may have thyroid cancer will get one or more of these tests.

Ultrasound: Ultrasound uses sound waves to create images of parts of your body. You are not exposed to radiation during this test. This test can help determine if a thyroid nodule is solid or filled with fluid. (Solid nodules are more likely to be cancerous.) It can also be used to check the number and size of thyroid nodules as well as help determine if any nearby lymph nodes are enlarged because the thyroid cancer has spread.

Radioiodine scan: Radioiodine scans can be used to help determine if someone with a lump in the neck might have thyroid cancer. They are also often used in people who have already been diagnosed with differentiated (papillary, follicular, or Hurthle cell) thyroid cancer to help show if it has spread.

Computed tomography (CT) scan: The CT scan is an x-ray test that makes detailed cross-sectional images of your body. It can help determine the location and size of thyroid cancers and whether they have spread to nearby areas, although ultrasound is usually the test of choice. A CT scan can also be used to look for spread into distant organs such as the lungs.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan: MRI scans use magnets instead of radiation to create detailed cross-sectional images of your body. MRI can be used to look for cancer in the thyroid, or cancer that has spread to nearby or distant parts of the body. But ultrasound is usually the first choice for looking at the thyroid. MRI can provide very detailed images of soft tissues such as the thyroid gland. MRI scans are also very helpful in looking at the brain and spinal cord.

Positron emission tomography (PET) scan: A PET scan can be very useful if your thyroid cancer is one that doesn't take up radioactive iodine. In this situation, the PET scan may be able to tell whether the cancer has spread.


Biopsy: The actual diagnosis of thyroid cancer is made with a biopsy, in which cells from the suspicious area are removed and looked at in the lab. If biopsy is needed, the simplest way to find out if a thyroid lump or nodule is cancerous is with a fine needle aspiration (FNA) of the thyroid nodule.


Blood tests: Blood tests are not used to find thyroid cancer. But they can help show if your thyroid is working normally, which may help the doctor decide what other tests may be needed. They can also be used to monitor certain cancers. Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), T3 and T4 (thyroid hormones),Thyroglobulin, Calcitonin, Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA), Other blood tests will be done.


Vocal cord exam (laryngoscopy): Thyroid tumors can sometimes affect the vocal cords. If you are going to have surgery to treat thyroid cancer, a procedure called a laryngoscopy will probably be done first to see if the vocal cords are moving normally. For this exam, the doctor looks down the throat at the larynx (voice box) with special mirrors or with a laryngoscope, a thin tube with a light and a lens on the end for viewing.

The tests and diagnosis will determine whether you have thyroid cancer and whether it has spread from the thyroid to other parts of the body and helps determine how serious the cancer is and helps how best to treat it.

How is the stage determined?

The staging system most often used for thyroid cancer is the TNM staging system is the most commonly used method to describe the different stages of thyroid cancer, which is based on 3 key pieces of information:

The extent (size) of the tumor (T): How large is the cancer? Has it grown into nearby structures?
The spread to nearby lymph nodes (N): Has the cancer spread to nearby lymph nodes?
The spread (metastasis) to distant sites (M): Has the cancer spread to the distant organs such as the lungs or liver?

CAN-C: Well-known centre for thyroid cancer treatment in Bangalore.

Most people with thyroid cancer have no known risk factors, so it is not possible to prevent most cases of this disease. However, the following might help reduce or eliminate the risk of thyroid cancer:


Radiation exposure: Especially in childhood, is a known thyroid cancer risk factor. Because of this, doctors no longer use radiation to treat less serious diseases. If there is an increased risk it is likely to be small, but to be safe, children should not have these tests unless they are absolutely needed. When they are needed, they should be done using the lowest dose of radiation that still provides a clear picture.


Genetic tests: Can be done to look for the gene mutations found in familial medullary thyroid cancer (MTC). Because of this, most of the familial cases of MTC can be prevented or treated early by removing the thyroid gland. Once the disease is discovered in a family, the rest of the family members can be tested for the mutated gene.


If you have a family history of MTC: It is important that you see a doctor who is familiar with the latest advances in genetic counseling and genetic testing for this disease. Removing the thyroid gland in children who carry the abnormal gene will probably prevent a cancer that might otherwise be fatal.


Eating a healthy diet: A diet high in fruits and vegetables and low in animal fat can reduce the risk of many types of cancer. Maintaining a healthy weight can also help protect against many diseases, including cancer of the thyroid.

"CAN-C: Specialize in thyroid cancer treatment in Bangalore."

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How Thyroid Cancer is treated?

If you've been diagnosed with thyroid cancer, it's important to weigh the benefits of each treatment option against the possible risks and side effects. There are lots of ways to treat thyroid cancer. The treatment you get will depend on the type and stage of the cancer. It also depends on your age, general health, and other things that are unique to you. Most cases of thyroid cancer can be cured with treatment.

Surgery is the main treatment in nearly every case of thyroid cancer, except for some anaplastic thyroid cancers. If thyroid cancer is diagnosed by a fine needle aspiration (FNA) biopsy, surgery to remove the tumor and all or part of the remaining thyroid gland is usually recommended.

1. Lobectomy
Lobectomy is an operation that removes the lobe containing the cancer. It is sometimes used to treat differentiated (papillary or follicular) thyroid cancers that are small and show no signs of spread beyond the thyroid gland. It is also sometimes used to diagnose thyroid cancer if an FNA biopsy result doesn't provide a clear diagnosis.

2. Thyroidectomy
Thyroidectomy is surgery to remove the thyroid gland. It is the most common surgery for thyroid cancer. As with lobectomy, this is typically done through an incision a few inches long across the front of the neck. You will have a small scar across the front of your neck after surgery, but this should become less noticeable over time.

If the entire thyroid gland is removed, it is called a total thyroidectomy. If nearly all of the gland is removed, it is called a near-total thyroidectomy. After a near-total or total thyroidectomy, you will need to take daily thyroid hormone (levothyroxine) pills.

3. Lymph node removal
If cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes in the neck, these will be removed at the same time surgery is done on the thyroid. This is especially important for treatment of medullary thyroid cancer and for anaplastic cancer.

For papillary or follicular cancer where only 1 or 2 enlarged lymph nodes are thought to contain cancer, the enlarged nodes may be removed and any small deposits of cancer cells that may be left are then treated with radioactive iodine. More often, several lymph nodes near the thyroid are removed in an operation called a central compartment neck dissection. Removal of even more lymph nodes, including those on the side of the neck, is called a modified radical neck dissection.

External beam radiation therapy uses high-energy rays (or particles) to destroy cancer cells or slow their growth. A carefully focused beam of radiation is delivered from a machine outside the body.

This type of radiation therapy is most often used to treat medullary thyroid cancer and anaplastic thyroid cancer. For cancers that take up iodine (most differentiated thyroid cancers) radioiodine therapy is usually a better treatment.

External beam radiation therapy is often used for cancers that don't take up iodine and have spread beyond the thyroid. This might be done to help treat the cancer or to lower the chance of cancer coming back in the neck after surgery.

If a cancer does not respond to radioiodine therapy, external radiation therapy may be used to treat cancer that has come back in the neck or distant metastases that are causing pain or other symptoms.

Before your treatments start, the medical team will take careful measurements to find the correct angles for aiming the radiation beams and the proper dose of radiation.

Over the years, we have been committed to delivering an accurate and technologically advanced treatment for thyroid cancer in Bangalore.

Chemotherapy (chemo) uses anti-cancer drugs that are injected into a vein or are taken by mouth. Chemotherapy is systemic therapy, which means that the drug enters the bloodstream and travels throughout the body to reach and destroy cancer cells.

Chemotherapy is seldom helpful for most types of thyroid cancer, but fortunately it is not needed in most cases. It is often combined with external beam radiation therapy for anaplastic thyroid cancer and is sometimes used for other advanced cancers that no longer respond to other treatments.

The chemotherapy drugs most commonly used to treat mainly medullary thyroid cancer and anaplastic thyroid cancer include: Dacarbazine, Vincristine, Cyclophosphamide, Doxorubicin, Streptozocin, Fluorouracil, Paclitaxel, Docetaxel, Carboplatin

At CAN-C, our specialists provide high-standard treatment (in Bangalore) for thyroid cancer.

Newer drugs that specifically target the changes inside cells that cause them to become cancerous are being used to treat thyroid cancer.

1. Targeted drugs for papillary or follicular thyroid cancer:
Fortunately, most of these cancers can be treated effectively with surgery and radioactive iodine therapy, so there is less need for other drugs to treat them. But when those treatments aren't effective, targeted drugs can be helpful.

Sorafenib (Nexavar) and lenvatinib (Lenvima) are both types of targeted drugs known as kinase inhibitors. They work in 2 ways: they help block tumors from forming new blood vessels, which the tumors need to grow, and they target some of the proteins made by cancer cells that normally help them grow.

These drugs can help stop cancer growth for a time for people with differentiated thyroid cancer (papillary and follicular thyroid cancers) whose treatment with radioactive iodine is no longer working.

2. Targeted drugs for medullary thyroid cancer:
Targeted drugs are used to treat medullary thyroid cancer (MTC) because thyroid hormone-based treatments (including radioactive iodine therapy) are not effective against these cancers.

Vandetanib (Caprelsa) and Cabozantinib (Cometriq) are targeted drugs used to treat advanced MTC. They each can stop cancers from growing for a time. These drugs are not given together but are taken in pill form once a day.

3. Targeted drugs for anaplastic thyroid cancer:
Targeted drugs are used to treat anaplastic thyroid cancer because most other treatments are not very effective against these cancers. Some anaplastic thyroid cancers have changes in the BRAF gene, which causes them to make proteins that help them grow.

Dabrafenib (Tafinlar) and trametinib (Mekinist) are drugs that target some of these proteins. These drugs can be used together to treat anaplastic thyroid cancers that have a certain type of BRAF gene change and that can't be removed completely with surgery. These drugs are taken as pills or capsules each day.

If your thyroid has been removed (thyroidectomy), your body can no longer make the thyroid hormone it needs. You will need to take thyroid hormone (levothyroxine) pills to replace the natural hormone and help maintain normal metabolism and possibly lower your risk of the cancer coming back.

Normal thyroid function is regulated by the pituitary gland. The pituitary makes a hormone called TSH that causes the thyroid gland to make thyroid hormone for the body. TSH also promotes growth of the thyroid gland and probably of thyroid cancer cells. The level of TSH, in turn, is regulated by how much thyroid hormone is in the blood. If the level of thyroid hormone is low, the pituitary makes more TSH. If the level of thyroid hormone is high, not as much TSH is needed, so the pituitary makes less of it.

By giving higher than normal doses of thyroid hormone, TSH levels can be kept very low. This may slow the growth of any remaining cancer cells and lower the chance of some thyroid cancers (especially high-risk cancers) coming back.

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