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Thyroid Cancer Screening in Plano TX
Thyroid cancer starts in the thyroid gland. Your thyroid produces hormones that regulate your heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature and weight. Most thyroid cancers, called differentiated thyroid cancers, develop form thyroid follicular cells or C cells.
Thyroid Cancer is most commonly diagnosed between the ages of 25 and 65. Two to four times more women than men are diagnosed with thyroid cancer. The function of the thyroid gland is to produce hormones that regulate the body's metabolism, so it's important to understand the risk factors that affect the thyroid.
What are the Risk Factors of Thyroid Cancer?
It’s very unlikely that you’ll get thyroid cancer if you don’t fall into a couple of these categories:
- Between the ages of 25 and 65
- You have:
- Another thyroid disorder
- Familial Adenomatous Polyposis (FAP)
- Cowden Disease
- Carney Complex, type I
- Familial Nonmedullary Thyroid Carcinoma
- Family History
- Diet high in iodine
- Radiation Exposure
Keep in mind, having these risk factors doesn’t mean that any of them cause thyroid cancer on their own, they just increase the risk of it happening. However, if you can remove some of these risk factors, you can greatly reduce your chances of getting thyroid cancer, such as reducing your iodine intake.
What are the Symptoms of Thyroid Cancer?
Note that these symptoms don’t necessarily mean you have thyroid cancer, but if you are experiencing any of these symptoms and also fit into a few of the risk factors above, consult with your doctor about getting a screening:
- A lump that can be felt through the skin on your neck
- Changes to your voice, including increasing hoarseness
- Difficulty swallowing
- Pain in your neck and throat
- Swollen lymph nodes in your neck
How do you Diagnose Thyroid Cancer?
First, your doctor will conduct a physical exam and discuss with you your medical history and current symptoms. If they think it warrants you getting an exam, they will most likely refer you to a radiologist such as SWDCMI to get a CT scan, PET scan, MRI or ultrasound. Many cases of thyroid cancer can be found early. In fact, most thyroid cancers are now found much earlier than in the past and can be treated successfully.
What are the Stages of Thyroid Cancer?
The most common system used to describe the stages is the American Joint Committee on Cancer TNM System. This system is based on three pieces of information:
T: This indicates the primary tumor an whether it has grown to nearby areas.
N: This describes the extent of spread to nearby (regional) lymph nodes.
M: This indicates whether the cancer has spread (metastasized) to other organs of the body. Most commonly thyroid cancer spreads to the lungs, liver and bones.
How do you Treat Thyroid Cancer?
- Removing the all of most of the thyroid (thyroidectomy)
- Removing lymph nodes in the neck
- Removing a portion of the thyroid (thyroid lobectomy)
- Thyroid hormone therapy
- Radioactive iodine
- External radiation therapy
- Injecting alcohol into cancers
- Targeted drug therapy
- Supportive care
You can learn more about PET and CT imaging for Kidney Cancer at cancer.org