Thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland located at the bottom of the throat near trachea. Cancerous growth in thyroid gland and tissues is called thyroid cancer. Thyroid cancer is more in common in women than men and risk of thyroid cancer is more due to age and exposure to radiation. There are different types of thyroid cancer and they are papillary thyroid cancer, follicular thyroid cancer, medullary thyroid cancer, and anaplastic thyroid cancer. Let us see the different types of thyroid cancer in detail.
Papillary thyroid cancer
Papillary thyroid cancer is the most common type of thyroid cancer and around 70% of thyroid cancer patients affected by papillary thyroid cancer. It generally arises as solid, cystic and irregular mass arise from the typical tissues of thyroid gland. It can occur at any age. However, people in the age group of 40 -50 are more likely to have this type of cancer. Most of the children who develop thyroid cancer are diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer.
An asymptomatic thyroid nodule tends to appear as neck mass and in some cases the neck mass might produce local symptoms. They are diagnosed on routine examinations. Biopsy and ultrasound are generally done to diagnose the cancer. Thyroid ultrasound found to be very effective to discover the nodules to identify the presence of small carcinomas, which are malignant tumours i,e cancerous cells. Surgery is the common treatment preferred by doctors to treat papillary thyroid cancer where the cancerous tissues are removed. After surgical removal, radio iodine therapy is given to the patients.
Compared with other types of thyroid cancer, this cancer has high recovery and cure rate. More than 80% of patients found to survive more than 10 years with papillary cancer.
Follicular thyroid cancer
This cancer is slightly aggressive when compared with papillary cancer. It is more common in people with age group of 50 – 60 and is less common in children. Unlike papillary cancer, risk of developing follicular cancer is very low when exposed to radiation therapy. There are few similarities between papillary and follicular cancer. It is more common in women than men and survival rate is found around 80%. Spread of malignant tumours to other parts of body is very rare. However, cancer is found to be severe and aggressive in old aged people.
It is very difficult rather, not possible to distinguish between follicular cancer and follicular adenoma on cytological grounds. Hence, histo-pathological diagnosis is performed to identify the presence. When it comes to treatment, surgery followed by radioiodine therapy is given.
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Medullary thyroid cancer
Medullary thyroid cancer occurs due to genetic factors and family history. Around 5% of thyroid cancer patients are affected by medullary cancer. It generally arises from the thyroid cells that produce hormones. Cancerous growth is found in C cells. This cancer is very lower recovery rate; in spite of that it cancer can be treated easily than other types of thyroid cancer. Medullary cancers are also termed as inherited thyroid cancer. Unlike other types of thyroid cancer, it doesn’t occur due to radiation exposure. Around 75% of medullary thyroid cancer is occurred due to identifiable genetic issues and family history of thyroid cancer.
Surgery is found to be effective treatment for recovering from medullary cancer only if when it is performed in the early stage. Survival rate is expected around 10 years. However, risk of recurrence is high in medullary cancer than other thyroid cancers.
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Anaplastic thyroid cancer
Anaplastic thyroid cancer is more aggressive cancer than all other types of thyroid cancer and the survival rate is also very low. Just around 14% of affected patients are expected to survive for around 7 – 8 years. Cancerous growth is found in follicular cells and it is very difficult to identify the presence and recognize the cancer. Similarly, it is quite difficult to control this cancer as the cancerous growth is very rapid and it easily spread to other parts of the body.
Unlike other types of cancer, anaplastic thyroid cancer cannot be cured by surgery and radioiodine therapy. Radiation therapy is given to patients followed by chemotherapy. In addition, hormone therapy and adjuvant therapy is also given to increase the chance of recovery.
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