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Thyroid Cancer

A cancer of the thyroid, the butterfly-shaped gland at the base of the neck.

The cause of thyroid cancer is poorly understood, but may involve a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Some people have no symptoms. Others may notice a lump in the neck. Treatments, which are usually successful, include surgery, hormone therapy, radioactive iodine, radiation, and in some cases chemotherapy.



Symptoms

Requires a medical diagnosis

Some people have no symptoms. Others may notice a lump in the neck.

People may experience:

  • Pain areas: in the neck
  • Neck: enlarged lymph nodes, lump, or swelling Also common: thyroid nodules

Treatments

Treatment depends on stage

Treatments, which are usually successful, include surgery, hormone therapy, radioactive iodine, radiation, and in some cases chemotherapy.

Medical procedure

Radiation therapy: Treatment that uses x-rays and other high-energy rays to kill abnormal cells.

Medications

Antithyroid agent: Prevents the thyroid gland from making or releasing thyroid hormone.

  • Radioactive iodine (Hicon)

Hormone therapy: Affects body processes by regulating the activity of the organs.

Levothyroxine (Synthroid, Tirosint, Unithroid, Levothroid, Levoxyl, and Novothyrox)

Surgery

Thyroidectomy: Surgical removal of all or part of the thyroid gland.

Endocrine surgery: Surgical treatment of the glands that produce hormones in the body. For example, to remove a tumor on the gland.

Partial thyroidectomy: Surgical removal of part of the thyroid. Lymphadenectomy: Surgical removal of a lymph node.

Neck dissection: Surgical removal of lymph nodes in the neck.

Specialists

Endocrinologist: Treats metabolic and hormone disorders.

General surgeon: Performs a range of surgeries on the abdomen, skin, breast, and soft tissue.

Otolaryngologist: Treats ear, nose, and throat disorders.

Primary care provider (PCP): Prevents, diagnoses, and treats diseases.

Oncologist: Specializes in cancer.

Consult a doctor for medical advice

Note: The information you see describes what usually happens with a medical condition, but doesn't apply to everyone. This information isn't medical advice, so make sure to contact a healthcare provider if you have a medical problem. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or a emergency number immediately.

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