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Thyroid Cancer Treatments

Thyroid cancer treatments are performed to cure the disease in the butterfly-shaped thyroid gland located in the lower part of the neck in humans.

The thyroid is responsible for the production of hormones that manage many vital functions in the body. The thyroid gland is a liquid or solid structure that can occur in different sizes. Many of these nodules can grow without any symptoms and may not be cancerous.

It is a disease that can be found during routine examinations. Some thyroid nodules can grow large enough to be seen and cause different problems in patients. Today, thyroid cancer treatments are known for their high success rate. As with other types of cancer, early diagnosis is very important. It is a disease that is more common in women than in men.


Causes of Thyroid Cancer


The exact causes of thyroid cancer remain a subject of ongoing research, but several factors have been associated with an increased risk of developing this form of cancer. Knowing risk factors can shed light on why some individuals are more prone to thyroid cancer than others.

Perhaps the most well-established risk factor for thyroid cancer is exposure to high levels of ionizing radiation, especially during childhood. This can occur due to medical treatments involving radiation, such as for tonsillitis or acne, or through environmental exposure like nuclear accidents.

This illness exhibits a significant gender bias, with women being three times more likely to develop it than men. Moreover, the risk increases with age, particularly after the age of 40, but thyroid cancer can affect individuals of all ages. Like all cancer types, family history or certain hereditary syndromes can also elevate the risk. If a first-degree relative, like a parent or sibling, has had thyroid cancer, it may increase the person's risk.

Besides, prolonged exposure to certain environmental toxins, chemicals, or pollutants may be linked to thyroid cancer. For example, occupational exposure to asbestos or radiation-related occupations can elevate the risk. Although less established, factors such as smoking and obesity have been suggested as potential contributors to this illness risk.


Most Preferred Thyroid Cancer Treatment Options


The treatment of thyroid cancer is a multi-faceted process that involves several approaches, each tailored to the type, stage, and individual characteristics of the disease. The methods listed below are the most frequently used approaches:


  • Surgery (Thyroidectomy)
  • Radioactive Iodine (Radioiodine) Therapy
  • Thyroid Hormone Replacement Therapy
  • External Beam Radiation Therapy
  • Targeted Therapy


Thyroid surgery involves the removal of all or part of the thyroid gland. The extent of the surgery depends on the type of thyroid cancer and the degree of involvement. In most cases of this illness, surgical removal of the thyroid is the primary treatment. This can include a total thyroidectomy (complete removal of the thyroid) or a lobectomy (removal of one thyroid lobe). In some cases, a near-total thyroidectomy may be performed to preserve parathyroid function.

Radioactive iodine therapy is administered in the form of a radioactive isotope of iodine (iodine-131). It is absorbed by any remaining thyroid tissue or cancer cells, effectively destroying them. Following the thyroid surgery, radioactive iodine therapy is often used to eliminate any remaining thyroid tissue or cancer cells. This is particularly crucial for certain types of thyroid cancer, such as papillary and follicular carcinoma. The treatment may require isolation in a hospital due to radiation safety precautions.


Other Thyroid Cancer Treatment Options


Thyroid hormone replacement therapy provides the body with synthetic thyroid hormone, generally in the form of levothyroxine. This medication replaces the hormones that the thyroid would normally produce. Following the surgery and radioactive iodine therapy, patients require lifelong hormone replacement therapy to maintain normal thyroid hormone levels in the body. This helps prevent hypothyroidism and maintains essential metabolic functions.

On the other hand, external beam radiation therapy uses high-energy X-rays to target and destroy cancer cells. It is used in rare cases where thyroid cancer does not respond to other treatments or has spread beyond the neck. This therapy is generally reserved for advanced or recurrent thyroid cancer that does not respond to other treatment approaches. It is employed to target cancer cells while minimizing damage to surrounding healthy tissue.

Target therapy is also included in some cases, though this option is not often heard of when it comes to curing this cancer. This practice has shown promise in treating advanced thyroid cancer, especially those cases that do not respond to traditional treatments. For example, lenvatinib and sorafenib are used to target specific molecular pathways involved in thyroid cancer growth. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy are usually not included in the treatment of thyroid cancer. Health International has a patient-centred approach. We can answer anything you want to know, all you need to do is reach us via our contact details.

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