Thyroid cancer, which can be caused by thyroid nodules, can manifest itself with symptoms such as hoarseness, difficulty swallowing and breathing, persistent cough, and it can progress silently without causing any complaints. Upset. Dr. Uğur Alp Göksu gave information about thyroid nodules, thyroid cancer and treatment methods.
Thyroid cancer; It is more common in people with a family history of thyroid cancer, people exposed to radiation, and individuals over the age of 40. In addition, thyroid cancer can develop due to radioactivity after nuclear accidents. Cases are reported even 40 years after these accidents. Especially in childhood, exposure to high doses of radiation increases the risk of thyroid cancer. During this period, if exposure to radiation is in question during the treatment processes applied for other cancers, it is necessary to be very careful to protect the neck area.
It may not cause any symptoms in the early period in thyroid cancer. Most of the time, it can be detected incidentally during the examination of nodules detected during the examination of the neck region of the doctors or by imaging methods applied to the neck region for reasons other than thyroid (neck ultrasound, CT, MRI, PET CT). The growth of the nodule diagnosed with cancer can be very slow or it can occur in a very short time. Some people can see this growth, and this can be expressed as a feeling of growing in the neck.
Other symptoms seen in thyroid cancer are as follows;
Hoarseness or difficulty speaking
Primary treatment of thyroid cancer is surgery.
In the treatment of thyroid cancer, the staging process shows where the disease has spread within or outside the thyroid gland from the beginning. It is very important to determine the type and stage of the cancer and, if any, accompanying diseases for an up-to-date, effective and correct treatment in thyroid cancer. Treatment of thyroid cancers is primarily surgical. Surgical procedure; It involves surgical removal of all or part of the thyroid gland.
In addition, lymph node removal may be required depending on its prevalence and type. The lymph node can be removed during the first surgical intervention, or it can be intervened when it is seen later in the follow-up. In tumors smaller than 1 cm, if there is no lymph node involvement and is limited to one lobe, a unilateral surgical procedure called lobectomy can be performed. Nowadays, these very small tumors can be followed by a specialist without surgical intervention.
The goal is to destroy cancer cells
After surgery (procedure), patients receive lifelong thyroid hormone therapy. In cases where surgical treatment is not sufficient, radioactive iodine treatment may be required with the guidance of the specialist.
After the surgical procedure, after the evaluation of the endocrinology and metabolic diseases specialist, they are directed to the relevant department for the application of radioactive therapy. The target of radioactive iodine therapy is to destroy thyroid cells. The possibility of side effects on organs other than thyroid is low, but in some patients, it affects the salivary glands and may cause dry mouth.
Repeated high doses may increase the development of other cancers at a low rate. For this, its use in low doses minimizes this risk. New drugs have begun to be used in advanced thyroid cancer cases. However, these drugs may slow the growth of the cancer or produce a partial response.
Routine follow-ups are vital
In the treatment of thyroid cancer, external radiotherapy and chemotherapy using high-dose X-rays that kill cancer cells can be used. Thyroid hormone therapy; After surgery or radioactive treatment, appropriate dose adjustment is made by the specialist physician according to the TSH value, the presence of additional disease and the stage. Although thyroid cancer is initially treated successfully, sometimes it can recur after years in some patients.
Physical examination of the patient, examination of blood and imaging tests are very important in routine follow-up. Regular thyroid hormone tests should be done and the level of thyroid hormone should be evaluated by an endocrinology and metabolic diseases specialist. If thyroid cancer recurs or spreads, surgical intervention, radioactive iodine therapy, external beam therapy or chemotherapy can be applied after medical examination.