The most common form that thyroid cancer takes is papillary. Papillary Thyroid Cancer is slow growing, but has a possibility of spreading to lymph nodes and the blood stream. This means that even though it is very treatable, an early diagnosis can help ensure that the cancer does not spread.
The thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland located in the neck. The thyroid is responsible for releasing hormones that control everything from body temperature to weight and metabolism.
Papillary Thyroid Cancer can occur at any age, however women between the ages of 20 and 55 are the most susceptible.
Symptoms of Papillary Thyroid Cancer
The symptoms of this type of thyroid cancer are similar to that of other forms of thyroid cancer. These include:
- Swelling of the neck or throat area
- Changes in voice pitch or sound
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Difficulty swallowing
- Persistent cough
- One or more lumps in the neck area
While many of these symptoms can be indications of other illnesses, when several of them occur together it is crucial that a doctor’s opinion is sought. Early diagnosis of any type of cancer will drastically improve the chances for a full recovery.
Treatment of Papillary Thyroid Cancer
Fortunately many types of Papillary Thyroid Cancer, including papillary, are very treatable. In fact, there are often several treatment options to choose from. Factors such as how advanced the cancer is, how fast it has spread, and the location of any lumps can all factor into which treatment option is best.
Surgery is the most common form of treatment. During the process, the surgeon will remove any carcinomas, as well as any nearby lymph nodes that look like they may be suspicious. If necessary, the entire thyroid may be removed. The lymph nodes will then be sent in for a biopsy, to ensure that the cancer has not spread beyond the thyroid.
If surgery is unable to remove all of the cancerous tissue, or there is worry that there may be additional risk, a doctor may recommend starting a radioactive iodine treatment regimen. Radioactive iodine is used to destroy any thyroid cells that remain that may still be producing hormone. In order for this treatment method to work, all thyroid replacement hormones that are being taken must be stopped for at least two weeks prior to the iodine treatment. This will ensure that any thyroid cells present will be active and receptive to the radioactive iodine.
Post Cancer Treatment of Papillary Thyroid Cancer
Once the cancer has been removed, the patient will need to start a hormone regimen that they will need to follow for the rest of their life. These hormones are intended to replace the hormones that would naturally be produced by the thyroid.
Papillary Thyroid Cancer – Video
Cancer is a scary diagnosis, however it is not necessarily the end of the world. For anyone diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer, the prognosis is quite good. Under the care of a qualified physician, it is very likely that the cancer can be completely eradicated. Synthetic thyroid hormone supplements also help ensure that a full and healthy life is possible, even without this essential hormone gland.