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Thyroid Cancer

Thyroid cancer occurs more frequently in women than men. Most patients are 60 years and younger – including children in their pre-teens.

Most thyroid cancers can be cured if treated. But it can be difficult to detect early

As its name implies, the disease affects the thyroid, a butterfly-shaped gland found at the front of the neck. It produces hormones that help regulate processes in the body, such as heart rate, temperature and digestion.

There are no symptoms at the onset but can grow gradually and become aggressive. When that happens, thyroid cancer can recur despite treatment.

So keep a lookout for the following warning signs:

  • A lump on the front of neck, specifically next to the voice box or windpipe
  • Swollen lymph nodes on the side of neck Pain in neck and throat
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Hoarseness of voice

" The causes of thyroid cancer remain unknown. But radiation exposure and genetics can increase your risk "

Thyroid cancer comes in different types.

Papillary thyroid cancer

  • Slow to grow
  • Affects lymph nodes in neck
  • Can be treated successfully

Follicular thyroid cancer

  • Spreads through the bloodstream
  • Affects lungs, liver and bones

Medullary thyroid cancer

  • Affects the production of calcitonin, a hormone that regulates calcium metabolism
  • Often genetic
  • Can be treated successfully

Anaplastic thyroid cancer

  • Spreads quickly to other parts of the body
  • Usually affects patients aged 60 or older
  • Resistant to treatment

What an ENT specialist can do for you

Visit an ENT specialist if you notice lumps in the neck, especially in your child. Up to 25% of thyroid lumps in kids are cancerous. At our clinic, you will be required to undergo a physical examination and a blood test. If a lump is detected, further investigation will be conducted. These include ultrasound and/or CT scans, and Fine-Needle Aspiration Cytology biopsy.

How can thyroid cancer be treated?

This depends on the type and stage of cancer. Usually surgery is recommended to remove the affected areas or even the entire thyroid. Where it is not suitable, radiation therapy may be used to destroy the cancer cells. Some patients may also need several different treatments.

Although relapse is uncommon, thyroid cancer can recur. So it is important to follow up with post-surgery checks and regimes.