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Thyroid Cancer by Randi Enger

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Thyroid cancer occurs in the cells of the thyroid, which is a butterfly-shaped gland. This gland is located in the front of your neck right below your Adam’s apple. When you have a healthy thyroid, it is a little larger than a quarter. The gland makes hormones, those are Calcitonin and Thyroid homone. Calcitonin regulates the amount of calcium in your body. The Thyroid hormone regulates heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and weight.

There are four types of thyroid cancer:
Papillary– This type makes up 80% of all thyroid cancer. Can be treated and cured if diagnosed early.
Follicular– This type makes up 15% of all thyroid cancer. Can be treated and cured if diagnosed early.
Medullary– This type makes up 3% of all thyroid cancer. Grows slowly, tends to be easier to control and treated if found before it spreads.
Anaplastic– This type makes up 2% of all thyroid cancer. Grows and spreads quickly, it is very hard to control and cure.

These four types are determined by how they look under the microscope. When a growth is found, it is called a nodule, 90% of thyroid nodules are benign.

If you or someone you know is diagnosed with thyroid cancer, you have treatment options. A vast majority of people with thyroid cancer have surgery to remove all or part of the thyroid. When surgery is chosen, most people are required to take medicine to replace the thyroid hormone. Radiation therapy may be performed, it may be done with or without surgery. If the thyroid cancer is not resolved by surgery or radiation, chemotherapy may be used. Treatment all depends on what type of thyroid cancer you have, but surgery is chosen most of the time.




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