When cancer develops in your thyroid it can affect many areas of your health. Your thyroid gland is a key organ that produces hormones to regulate your heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature and weight. At CHRISTUS Health, our board-certified physicians and medical team have experience in diagnosing and treating various thyroid cancers.
Thyroid cancers are most commonly present in middle-aged women. These cancers typically present as a neck mass and are diagnosed with ultrasound and needle biopsy. The vast majority of thyroid cancers are differentiated, meaning, they have a very good prognosis.
Types of Cancer
Papillary Thyroid Cancer: This is the most common type of thyroid cancer that affects people from the age of 30 to 50.
Follicular Thyroid Cancer: People over 50 are at greater risk for developing this rare and more aggressive type of cancer.
Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer: This is another rare type of thyroid cancer that affects people in their 60s or older.
Medullary Thyroid Cancer: It is a type of cancer that affects individuals between the ages of 40 and 50.
Signs & Symptoms
During the initial stages of thyroid cancer, there are usually no symptoms or signs, but as the disease progresses, common symptoms include:
- Enlarged lump nodule
- Swallowing difficulties
- Excessive neck and throat pain
If you are experiencing any signs or symptoms, we suggest making an appointment with your CHRISTUS physician.
If your cancer is confined to one location and has not spread, the most common treatment approach is surgery. If your tumor has spread to local lymph nodes only, sometimes these can be removed. Some cancers require a combination of surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy.
Most thyroid cancers take up radioactive iodine (I-131) with high affinity, delivering high doses of beta radiation to areas of the gross tumor. This provides an easy and highly effective technique to treat these cancers, as I-131 is given as a single oral tablet.