Thyroid Cancer Treatment
While far less common than other forms of cancer, thyroid cancer diagnoses are on the rise. This may be due to advancements in detection capabilities, as many patients experience no symptoms, making thyroid cancer difficult to identify. However, when treatment is received, most patients have a great chance for recovery. The Oncology Department at Richmond University Medical Center offers a variety of thyroid cancer treatment options to address the disease with surgical and nonsurgical care.
What Is Thyroid Cancer?
The thyroid gland, located at the base of the neck, produces hormones that influence the body’s temperature, weight, blood pressure, and heart rate. When the cells within and around the thyroid gland become abnormal and multiply, a tumor eventually develops. Thyroid cancer is considered highly treatable with early detection. There are several types of thyroid cancer, including:
- Papillary and Follicular thyroid cancer: Found in the follicular cells that produce and store hormones. These types of thyroid cancer can be easily treated with surgery with or without radioactive iodine ablation.
- Medullary: A more aggressive form of thyroid cancer, this malignancy originates in the thyroid’s C cells, which produce calcitonin.
- Anaplastic: A rare and extremely aggressive form of thyroid cancer
- Thyroid lymphoma: This cancer starts in the thyroid’s immune system cells
Symptoms and Risk Factors
Many individuals with thyroid cancer experience no symptoms, making detection more difficult. However, experiencing any of the symptoms below could indicate the presence of thyroid cancer. Consult with your physician immediately if you notice:
- Trouble swallowing
- A lump on your neck
- Neck and/or throat pain
- Changes to your voice, such as hoarseness
- Swollen and/or painful lymph nodes
Thyroid cancer is more common in women and individuals diagnosed with multiple endocrine neoplasia, familial medullary thyroid cancer, or other related genetic conditions. Frequent exposure to radiation may also elevate your risk of thyroid cancer.
Thyroid Cancer Treatment Options
The success rates of both surgical and nonsurgical thyroid cancer treatments are extremely encouraging, especially after early detection. Depending on the stage and type of cancer and overall health, your physician may recommend surgery to remove cancer. These surgeries include:
- Thyroidectomy or near-total thyroidectomy: Removal of most or all of the thyroid gland
- Lobectomy: Removal of the cancerous lobe and isthmus within the thyroid gland
- Lymph node removal: This procedure is used when thyroid cancer spreads to nearby lymph nodes.
Even after surgery, trace cancer cells may remain. Your oncologist can use radioactive iodine to target these cells and eliminate any remaining cancer. Additionally, thyroid hormone therapy will be administered to replace the hormones once created by the gland.
Nonsurgical treatments, including chemotherapy and radiation, may also be recommended. In some cases, your oncologist may suggest a regimen of oral, cutting-edge cancer-killing medications, which have been recently approved for use in thyroid cancer. Patients are also offered palliative care during treatment to ease symptoms, eliminate discomfort, and improve quality of life.
Find the Right Care
If surgery or a biopsy is necessary, our ENT specialists can help at (718)-818-1855. If your doctor suspects you have thyroid cancer, it’s important to seek help right away. To learn more about thyroid cancer management, contact the Center for Cancer Care at Richmond University Medical Center today by calling (718)-818-3000. We’re located at 1000 South Avenue in Staten Island to provide easy access to the latest advancements and the best in cancer care.
For surgery or biopsies call: (718)-818-1855
For thyroid cancer treatment call: (718)-818-3000