Know Your Disease
When abnormal cell growth occurs in the thyroid gland, it leads to thyroid cancer. Unlike other types of cancer, thyroid cancer is always detected at an early stage and can be treated well in a timely manner by Dr. Soumen Das, Kolkata’s best oncologist.
Thyroid cancer causes a variety of symptoms that cannot be easily ignored by the patient as any other discomfort. Some of the common symptoms are:
- Lumps or bulges in the throat
- Difficulty swallowing
- Difficulty in breathing with a wheezing noise
- Change in sound or harshness in sound
- Bothersome cough that does not have any symptoms of cold
There are four types of thyroid cancer, as listed by the best cancer surgeon in Kolkata:
Papillary thyroid cancer – – It is a common type of thyroid cancer. It is common in children and women. Previous exposure to radiation may be a factor. Papillary thyroid cancer is usually caused by environmental factors and is not inherited. It is called well isolated thyroid cancer and its cure rate is excellent.
Follicular thyroid cancer – This is another common type of cancer from the thyroid. It is also a type of good behaviour thyroid cancer but has a slightly higher risk of spreading than papillary cancer of the thyroid.
Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer – Anaplastic thyroid cancer is one of the invasive types of thyroid cancer. It is more common in patients with chronic thyroid inflammation. It spreads rapidly to both local and distant organs.
Medullary thyroid cancer – This is a specific type of thyroid cancer that is inherited in many patients. Some cases are found in young children. This can be effectively treated with surgery.
The following are the treatment options for thyroid cancer available in India:
In most cases, surgery is the most important recommended treatment for thyroid cancer. In most patients, removal of the entire thyroid or total thyroidectomy is the surgery of choice. In patients with lower risks of recurrence, removal of half of the thyroid (hemithyroidectomy) may be sufficient. Thyroid surgery is a special procedure when some nerves (recurrent laryngeal nerve) and parathyroid glands have to be preserved to ensure a good quality of life. In the hands of the cancer specialist in Kolkata, it is a very safe and effective surgery.
Radioactive Iodine Therapy
Radioactive iodine scanning and treatment is an important part of thyroid cancer treatment, which is performed well after surgery to isolate thyroid cancer. The procedure is initiated within one month of surgery and can be repeated at intervals depending on the needs of the patient. While waiting for a scan, patients have to discontinue thyroid replacement medication which leads to symptoms like weakness, fatigue etc. There are alternative approaches using thyroid stimulation and scanning that can avoid such symptoms.
Thyroid Hormone Therapy
This is an important component of thyroid cancer treatment. It is mandatory whenever the thyroid gland is removed. Further, the dose of the drug is regulated to reduce TSH levels in the body and this helps in controlling cancer and preventing it from spreading.
In chemotherapy, anti-cancer drugs are injected into a patient’s body through a vein or muscle. With the help of this therapy, the drug flows throughout the body, destroying the cancer cells. It is mostly used during the advanced stages of cancer, especially thyroid anaplastic cancer.
While radioiodine therapy addresses most of the radiation needs, external radiation (using linear acceleration) is useful in many cases of thyroid cancer when radioiodine therapy is not appropriate, says the renowned oncologist in Kolkata.