As its name clearly implies, thyroid cancer is a malignant tumor or growth located within the thyroid, a butterfly-shaped gland at the base of your neck that produces hormones that regulate everything from your heart rate and blood pressure to your body temperature and weight. Thyroid cancer is one of the most common diseases in the endocrine system, but fortunately, it is highly curable. In fact, the recovery rate for patients younger than age 50 is 98 percent.
But here’s the tricky part: many thyroid cancer patients do not experience symptoms – especially in the early stages of the disease. That’s why it’s important to know the early signs of thyroid cancer before it can progress.
The cause of thyroid cancer is unclear. It occurs when cells in the thyroid undergo genetic mutation, allowing abnormal cells to grow and multiply quickly. Unlike normal cells, these abnormal cells lose their ability to die and thus accumulate to form a tumor. They can also spread to nearby tissue and invade other parts of your body.
The Warning Signs of Thyroid Cancer
The sometimes subtle signs or symptoms of thyroid cancer include:
- An unusual lump in the neck, sometimes growing rapidly
- Swelling in the neck
- Pain in the front of the neck, sometimes radiating up to the ears
- Hoarseness or other voice changes that don’t go away
- Difficulty swallowing
- Difficulty breathing
- A constant cough that is not due to a cold
Many of these symptoms could point to other, non-cancerous medical ailments, but if you experience any of them, speak with your doctor without delay because it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Although lumps in the thyroid are common and usually benign, you don’t want to take chances.
There are several types of thyroid cancer. Finding the right treatment for you will depend on the kind of thyroid cancer you have. Types of thyroid cancer include:
- Papillary thyroid cancer – This is the most common form of thyroid cancer, occurring from follicular cells that produce and store thyroid hormones. Although it can occur at any age, papillary thyroid cancer most often affects individuals between 30 and 50 years of age.
- Follicular thyroid cancer – Also spawning from the follicular cells of the thyroid, this form of cancer usually affects those older than age 50.
- Medullary thyroid cancer – This form of thyroid cancer originates in thyroid cells called C cells that produce the hormone calcitonin. It can be detected at a very early stage due to elevated levels of calcitonin in your bloodstream.
- Anaplastic thyroid cancer – This is a rare form of thyroid cancer – typically found in adults age 60 and older – that grows rapidly and can be difficult to treat.
- Thyroid lymphoma – This is another rare form of thyroid cancer – typically occurring in older adults – that begins in the immune system cells located in the thyroid and grows rapidly.
Effectively treating thyroid cancer
There are numerous treatment options for thyroid cancer ranging from surgical removal of the thyroid (a thyroidectomy) to thyroid hormone therapy and chemotherapy to traditional radiation therapy. Radiation therapy is an effective treatment for thyroid cancer, however traditional radiation comes with a host of unwanted side effects.
A much safer and effective alternative is CyberKnife® radiotherapy. It’s a non-invasive, painless procedure that – thanks to its advanced image-guided robotic system – delivers high doses of radiation directly to the tumor with pinpoint accuracy, thus destroying cancer cells while leaving surrounding tissue and organs unaffected. Unlike traditional radiation therapy that often involves multiple treatment sessions over the course of weeks or months, CyberKnife only requires a few one-hour sessions that can be completed in as little as a week. Plus, there is no downtime and only minimal, if any, side effects.
CyberKnife Treatment for Thyroid Cancer in Miami, Florida
If you have been diagnosed with thyroid cancer and radiation therapy has been recommended by your physician, speak with the radiation oncologists at CyberKnife Center of Miami to learn more about this amazing technology and whether you are a suitable candidate for treatment. Contact us today at (800) 204-0455 or (305) 279-2900 to arrange a private consultation or simply to make your appointment.
And go to our website now to learn more