Associate Professor from Memorial Ankara Hospital, Department of Endocrinology and Metabolic Diseases. Dr. Ethem Turgay Cerit gave information about thyroid cancer and its treatment. Thyroid cancer is a tumor that occurs when normal thyroid cells in the thyroid gland, which is butterfly-shaped and located in the lower part of the neck, transform into abnormal cells and grow out of control. While approximately 5 percent of all thyroid nodules seen in the community turn into thyroid cancer, this cancer is seen 4 times more in women than in men.
Pay attention to the feeling of growth and swelling!
The most common symptom of thyroid cancer is the sensation of enlargement and swelling in the anterior part of the neck, where the thyroid gland is located. In addition, in some cases, pressure symptoms such as a feeling of stuckness during swallowing, difficulty in swallowing, difficulty in breathing, coughing and hoarseness occur. In some cases, thyroid cancer can be detected incidentally, without causing any symptoms, during a manual examination of the doctor or by imaging studies performed for another reason.
Family history is very important
There are different reasons for the emergence of thyroid cancers. Having a family history of thyroid cancer, radiation to the neck for other diseases or reasons, and various mutations at the cellular level may cause cancer development from thyroid nodules.
Early diagnosis is the most important savior
For the diagnosis of thyroid cancer, it is necessary to see an endocrinologist first. The presence of nodules noticed in manual examinations is confirmed by ultrasonography, which is the most important examination method. If a thyroid nodule is detected in ultrasonography and the nodule is found to be suspicious for cancer, needle aspiration biopsy is performed. The sample obtained as a result of needle aspiration biopsy, which is the gold standard method in the diagnosis of thyroid cancer all over the world, is evaluated by a cytology specialist. The definitive diagnosis is made as a result of the examination of the surgically removed thyroid tissue by a pathology specialist.
Surgical treatment is applied first
The primary treatment for thyroid cancer is surgery. All or the affected part of the thyroid gland is surgically removed. However, in cases where there is spread to the lymph nodes, these areas are surgically removed. In some types of thyroid cancer, iodine therapy, also called atom therapy, may be needed. The decision to apply iodine treatment is made by the doctor following the patient according to the pathology result and the risk of recurrence of the disease.
Successful results are obtained with iodine treatment
Before starting iodine treatment, the patient should stop taking thyroid medications and follow a special diet. This treatment is applied in a radiation-proof environment due to the possibility of emitting radiation, and after the treatment, the patient is asked to take precautions for a while so that it does not affect the people around him. After the surgery, oral thyroid hormone treatment is applied both to meet the lifelong thyroid hormone needs of the patient’s body and to prevent the disease from recurring. Apart from these, other treatments such as radiotherapy and chemotherapy are very rarely needed in the follow-up of thyroid cancer.
Healthy diet and exercise are effective in preventing cancer.
As in all cancers, a healthy diet and an active lifestyle are among the sine qua non for thyroid cancer prevention. However, necessary precautions must be taken to protect the neck area from radiation exposure.