Ear Nose & Throat

5 Facts About Thyroid Cancer

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        [name] => Prof Christopher Goh
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        [address] => Novena ENT – Head & Neck Surgery Specialist Centre
    38 Irrawaddy Road
    #04-21/22/34 Mount Elizabeth
    Novena Specialist Centre
    Singapore 329563
    Tel: 6933 0451
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  • July 1, 2022
  • 1 minute read

What Is Thyroid Cancer?

Thyroid cancer is a form of cancer that develops in the thyroid gland, a butterfly-shaped gland at the base of the neck that produces hormones that the body needs for metabolism. Compared to other cancers, thyroid cancer is rare, and most cases are curable with prompt treatment. Here are some basic facts about thyroid cancer that you should know:

  1. Thyroid cancer is the most common endocrine cancer. In Singapore, it is the 8th most common type of cancer that affects women. Despite this, thyroid cancer is easily treatable, especially when detected early. Patients who receive prompt and proper treatments for thyroid cancer go on to have healthy and long lives.

  2. Thyroid cancer can affect people at any age. However, most cases occur in individuals who are aged 20 to 55. Women are also more prone to develop thyroid cancer than men. Specifically, women who are diagnosed with the condition are those aged 15 to 29 and 30 to 39.

  3. Thyroid cancer has several types, the most common being papillary thyroid cancer. This type first develops in follicular cells and spreads throughout nearby lymph nodes. The second most common type of thyroid cancer is follicular thyroid cancer, which forms in follicular cells and spreads to the bones and lungs. Other types of thyroid cancer include medullary thyroid cancer, which begins in the C cells that release the calcitonin hormone and anaplastic thyroid cancer, which is the most aggressive and difficult to treat.

  4. Most cases of thyroid cancer are asymptomatic. However, as the cancer progresses, symptoms like lumps or nodules, difficulty in speaking, swollen lymph nodes, struggling when swallowing or breathing, throat or neck pain, and pressure on throat when lying down start to surface.

  5. There are different ways to treat thyroid cancer, depending on its severity. The most common way is through surgery, which often involves the procedure to remove the thyroid gland known as a thyroidectomy. For small tumours that have not yet spread outside one lobe of the thyroid gland, a lobectomy may be recommended. This involves removing only the affected lobe that contains the tumour. Other treatments for thyroid cancer include radiation therapy, chemotherapy, external beam radiation and radioactive iodine treatment.
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