Oncology

Thyroid Cancer

provider-img1

Learn how to prevent Thyroid Cancer.

The thyroid is a butterfly shaped organ that helps to regulate metabolism including heart rate, blood pressure, weight, and body temperature. It is located in the neck in front of the trachea (windpipe) and has a right and a left lobe connected by an isthmus (a thin area of tissue). The specialists at CareMount Medical are experts in detecting and diagnosing thyroid cancer early in its development, safely removing the thyroid, and treating the cancer.

Diagnosis

The team of cancer experts at CareMount Medical have been extensively trained to detect thyroid cancer at its earliest stage, safely remove the thyroid gland, and facilitate post-surgical (adjuvant) treatment including thyroid hormone suppression and possibly radioactive iodine ablation.

In most cases, someone with thyroid cancer does not experience any symptoms. It is usually found during a routine neck examination or incidentally during an imaging study of the neck. When the cancer begins to develop, a person may notice a lump in the front of their neck.

Diagnostic Evaluation

If a person is suspected to have thyroid cancer, a doctor will perform a diagnostic evaluation. The physician will discuss the patient’s medical history, family history, and any symptoms he/she may be experiencing. A physical examination of the neck will be performed to check for abnormal lumps or growths and enlarged lymph nodes in the neck.

Blood Tests

Thyroid function tests including thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and possibly thyroid hormone levels (T3 and T4) may be ordered.

Ultrasound

An ultrasound uses sound waves to provide a detailed image of internal organs and soft tissue. A doctor may take an ultrasound of the neck to check on the size of the patient’s thyroid including the size and characteristics of thyroid nodules that have developed in the gland.

Biopsy

The other tests can help determine within a reasonable doubt that cancer may be present, but the only way to know definitively is through a biopsy. During this procedure, the doctor will extract a sample of the suspicious tissue. This is usually done as a fine needle aspiration, where a needle is inserted into the nodule and cells are withdrawn into a syringe. A pathologist in a lab will examine this tissue to determine if the growth is cancerous.

Types of Thyroid Cancer

Type Description of Cancer
Papillary Thyroid Cancer This type of cancer grows in finger-like shapes on the thyroid and tends to spread to lymph nodes. However, the outlook for patients who develop this type of cancer is generally good because it grows slowly.
Follicular Thyroid Cancer Follicular cancer affects the follicular cells in the thyroid and is more likely to spread to distant organs than papillary cancer.
Medullary Thyroid Cancer Medullary cancer develops in C cells in the thyroid, which make a hormone that controls the level of calcium in the blood.
Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer Anaplastic cancer is by far the most aggressive form of thyroid cancer and is often more difficult to treat.

*Data is taken from the American Thyroid Association

Treatments

The most common treatment options include:

  • Surgery to remove half of the thyroid or the whole thyroid and possibly to remove lymph nodes in the neck.
  • Thyroid hormone replacement therapy to help maintain normal metabolism rates and stop any remaining cancer cells from growing.
  • Radioactive iodine ablation to eliminate any remaining thyroid cells.
  • Chemotherapy, although seldom helpful for thyroid cancer, is combined with radiation therapy at advanced stages to control the tumor burden.

Schedule a Consultation

To schedule an appointment or obtain a second opinion on your diagnosis, please call the CareMount Medical Cancer Center Referral Line at 1-844-484-3292.

Providers