About Thyroid Cancer Treatment
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Thyroid cancer treatment overview:
Treatment of thyroid cancer depends on the patient’s age, type and stage of the cancer and overall health of the patient. Main options for thyroid cancer treatment are surgery and radiotherapy. What are the treatment options for thyroid cancer?
Treatment options for thyroid cancer include surgery, radiotherapy, hormone therapy or chemotherapy.
What is the success rate of thyroid cancer treatment?
- Surgery: Surgery is done to remove the cancerous part of the thyroid. It can be done as lobectomy, thyroidectomy or near-total thyroidectomy. In lobectomy only a lobe of the thyroid gland is removed. Whereas, removal of both thyroid lobe is called as thyroidectomy and removal of all but a very small part of the thyroid gland is called as near-total thyroidectomy. Adjacent lymph nodes are also removed during the surgery.
- Chemotherapy: It is not commonly used in thyroid cancers, but used in certain conditions where other treatment options do not respond. It is usually given in advanced cases of thyroid cancer.
- Radiotherapy: Radiotherapy is given either as radioactive iodine or external beam radiotherapy. Radioactive iodine therapy is given after surgery to remove any thyroid tissue left after thyroidectomy. It is given after a few weeks of surgery to reduce the risk of recurrence. Radioactive iodine is given into the blood stream which then goes into the thyroid and destroys the cancer cells. External beam radiotherapy is used in certain thyroid cancers. It destroys the cancer cells after surgery and prevents recurrence.
- Thyroid hormone therapy: Hormone therapy helps to treat the thyroid cancer or to replace the thyroid hormones after surgery. It includes T3 and T4 hormones, which inhibit TSH hormone secretion. Decreased TSH levels restrict the growth of cancer. Replaced thyroid hormones prevent the development of symptoms of thyroid cancer.
Success of thyroid cancer treatment depends on the stage and type of cancer. The success rate with therapy is better with small cancers and in women.
Duration of procedure/surgery : Surgery usually required 2-3 hours
Days admitted : The patient may require staying for 4-5 days in the hospital
Anesthesia : General Anaesthesia
Risks : Bleeding during surgery, Infection, injury to surrounding structures and nerves during surgery, Accidental removal of parathyroid gland during surgery, Risks associated with anesthesia, Skin irritation, stomach upset in radiotherapy
After care : Regular follow-up visit is required every 6-12 months. Thyroid hormone replacement is required for the rest of life. Any lump in the neck or problem breathing requires urgent attention. Regular blood tests to measure thyroid hormone levels
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