Thyroid cancer is a type of cancer that starts in the thyroid gland. Cancer starts when cells begin to grow out of control. (To learn more about how cancers start and spread, see What Is Cancer?) The thyroid gland makes hormones that help regulate your metabolism, heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature
Loading the player...Thyroid Cancer Recovery and Prognosis - Endocrinologist <p>Dr. Richard Bebb, MD, ABIM FRCPC, Endocrinologist, discusses thyroid cancer recovery and prognosis.</p>
Dr. Richard Bebb, MD, ABIM FRCPC, Endocrinologist, discusses thyroid cancer recovery and prognosis.
Loading the player...How is Thyroid Cancer Diagnosed? - Endocrinologist <p>Dr. Richard Bebb, MD, ABIM FRCPC, Endocrinologist, discusses how thyroid cancer is diagnosed.</p>
Dr. Richard Bebb, MD, ABIM FRCPC, Endocrinologist, discusses how thyroid cancer is diagnosed.
Loading the player...Thyroid Stimulating Hormone Treatment and Dosing - Endocrinologist <p>Dr. Richard Bebb, MD, ABIM, FRCPC, Endocrinologist, discusses thyroid stimulating hormone treatment and dosing.</p>
Dr. Richard Bebb, MD, ABIM, FRCPC, Endocrinologist, discusses thyroid stimulating hormone treatment and dosing.
Thyroid Cancer Recovery and Prognosis
The thyroid is a gland that exists at the base of our necks. We all have one, and you can actually feel your own thyroid if you put your finger just above the little notch at your neck. It’s a dumbbell-shaped structure, not unlike my bowtie. It’s an important structure. It’s a gland. It produces hormones.
And the function of the thyroid, the hormones affect your metabolism of food stuffs, carbohydrate and protein-ingested foods, but also has an effect with multiple other hormones, interacting with them.
It’s a very important structure you can’t live without. It will sometimes overproduce hormone. It’ll under-produce hormone, or the third way it presents as a problem is if it forms a nodule, which sometimes can be a cancer. Often seeing a local family physician or a physiotherapist in conjunction with a registered dietitian and athletic therapist is a great option to take control of this condition.
Now it’s always frightening when someone detects a lump in their neck, and that’s usually the presentation of thyroid cancer. And if someone’s shaving or looks in the mirror, sees the lump and feels it, and first thought is, is it cancer? Speak with your local Urologist for more information. There’s a little trick that we use to try and tell whether a lump in someone’s neck is the thyroid or another structure in the neck. And the trick is to swallow when your finger’s on it.
The thyroid is very far at the back, right against the cartilage of your trachea. So it moves up and down when you swallow. So if you have a lump, you put your finger on it, you swallow, it moves up and down, it’s either part of the thyroid or it originated from the thyroid, as opposed to a lymph node or another structure in the neck. Thyroid nodules or lumps in the neck are very, very common. Based on decade of life, it’s about 10 percent per decade of the public will have a lump or a nodule in their thyroid, if you do an ultrasound of people.
So by the age of 50, it’s roughly half of the population is going to have a nodule in their neck. And you were to use your fingers and just examine, it’s about one-tenth of that. So it would be around five percent. So very, very common.
Fortunately, the majority of thyroid nodules are not cancerous. It’s a minority. Depending on the particular circumstances of the patient, whether there’s a family history or other risk factors, it’ll be around 5, 10, 15 percent chance that a nodule is actually cancerous. If you have questions about thyroid cancer, or you think you have thyroid cancer, discuss this concern with your primary medical doctor or your Local Urologist.
Now Health Network Presenter: Dr. Richard Bebb, Endocrinologist, Victoria, BC
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Treatment for thyroid cancer
The treatment for thyroid cancer is influenced by several factors, including the type of thyroid cancer. Differentiated thyroid cancer, which typically includes papillary or follicular thyroid cancer, has a favorable prognosis and is easily treatable.
However, while it is rare for someone to die from differentiated thyroid cancer, it is not impossible. A slow-growing cancer can be a blessing and a curse. It provides time to deal with the cancer without being in a rush, but it can also make it easy to misinterpret a small, slow-growing thyroid nodule as benign when it is, in fact, cancerous. Therefore, it is important to biopsy any suspicious nodules.
The three cornerstones of thyroid cancer treatment are surgery, hormone replacement therapy, and, in some cases, radioactive iodine therapy. External beam radiation and chemotherapy are rarely used, and only in aggressive cases.
It is usually recommended to remove the entire thyroid gland unless the nodule is very small (less than one centimeter) and non-aggressive. This is because the thyroid has a tendency to make more cancers, and removing the entire gland simplifies monitoring for recurrence and facilitates the use of radioactive iodine therapy.
If you have any questions about the diagnosis, treatment, or long-term follow-up of thyroid cancer, it is recommended that you speak to your family doctor or a physician with experience in treating this type of cancer.