Basics of Thyroid Cancer

The incidence of thyroid cancer is increasing as more screening is being done and more nodules in thyroid are being uncovered.  According to American Cancer Society there were 52,890 new cases of thyroid cancer in the US in 2020 (12,720 in men and 40,170 in women). Generally, a nodule is picked up either by feeling a lump in the neck, thyroid ultrasound or incidental imaging of the neck.  Thyroid gland is located at the base of the neck. So, if you notice any lumps or bumps in that area you should get them checked out. Women are at higher risk for developing thyroid cancer. Some of the other risk factors include family hx of thyroid cancer and radiation around the neck area. Thyroid cancer cannot be initially diagnosed through blood work. It is mostly diagnosed via biopsy where the doctor inserts a tiny needle in the nodule with help of ultrasound and obtains some specimen.  Sounds frightening, but most of the time you only feel a pressure like sensation and before you know it, it’s done! Our doctors have years of experience with this! Treatment generally involves removing thyroid tissue depending on the size and involvement. Most people end up needing long term thyroid hormone replacement after surgery. Some also require additional treatment with radioactive iodine to ablate any residual tissue. Normally the decision for iodine treatment is dependent on the size and spread of the cancer.  Thyroid cancer is one of the least aggressive types of cancer. While its prognosis is excellent, the rate of recurrence can still be from 20-30%. Therefore, it is always a good idea to follow up with your provider in a timely manner so that they can keep track of the tumor markers.   To learn more about thyroid cancer or if you have any questions please contact us.

Author: Physician Assistant Sanket Shah

Published by Endocrinology and Psychiatry Center

We are a group of endocrinology physicians along with physician assistant and nurse practitioners. We specialize in diabetes, thyroid disease, menopause, testosterone, and other hormonal issues.

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