Learn about the disease, illness and/or condition Medullary Carcinoma (Thyroid Cancer) including: symptoms, causes, treatments, contraindications and conditions at ClusterMed.info.
Medullary Carcinoma (Thyroid Cancer)
|Medullary Carcinoma (Thyroid Cancer)
Medullary Carcinoma (Thyroid Cancer) Information
Chemotherapy is not commonly used for most thyroid cancers but may be used in certain clinical situations when the thyroid cancer does not respond to other treatments.
In certain thyroid cancers, where the tumor does not take up iodine, radiation therapy may be considered in place of radioactive iodine. Radioactive iodine update tests performed before surgery can assess whether or not iodine is taken up by the thyroid gland.
Radioactive iodine (radioiodine)
Iodine is routinely absorbed by thyroid tissue. Radioiodine may be administered after surgery to destroy any remnant thyroid tissue remaining after thyroidectomy. The decision to use this treatment depends upon the type and extent of the thyroid cancer and the levels of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) produced by the pituitary gland.
Most thyroid cancers require surgery to remove the tumor. Two options are available and decisions as to which option to pursue depend upon the clinical situation.
Thyroid cancer facts*
*Thyroid cancer facts medical author: Melissa Conrad Stoppler, MD
Once the thyroid has been removed, the body will no longer be able to make thyroid hormone, and daily thyroid hormone replacement will be necessary. Routine thyroid hormone blood tests will need to be performed to ensure there is an adequate amount of thyroid hormone to allow the body to function properly. Thyroid hormone replacement will be lifelong in total thyroidectomy patients.
How do health care professionals diagnose thyroid cancer?
Once a lump in the thyroid is discovered, it is important to know whether it is benign or malignant (cancerous).Often an ultrasound is performed to assess whether there is a single nodule or whether multiple nodules are present. Ultrasound can determine whether the nodule is fluid filled or solid. Ultrasound also can determine the general appearance of thyroid looking for inflammation or irregularities and the presence of enlarged lymph nodes nearby that may represent metastatic cancer.Fine needle aspiration biopsy is the procedure performed to obtain a sample of cells from the nodule to determine if it is cancerous. Using ultrasound, a thin needle is placed into the nodule and cells from the nodule are obtained. These cells can be examined under a microscope by a pathologist to determine whether a cancer is present and if so, what type of cancer it is.Results of the aspiration are usually reported as the following:
How is thyroid cancer staging determined?
Thyroid cancer, like most others, is staged based upon three criteria:
Is it possible to prevent thyroid cancer?
There is little one can do to prevent thyroid cancer aside from avoiding excessive exposure to radiation.
What are the different types of thyroid cancer?
Thyroid cancers are classified based upon which cell type is involved.Well differentiated cancers (in which thyroid cells are less abnormal looking) include:
What are the risk factors for thyroid cancer?
Children who have had radiation exposure to the neck are at higher risk for thyroid cancer. Studies have looked at children who were radiated 50 and 60 years ago when the risks of radiation where less well understood, and their rate of thyroid cancer is increased. Children and women survivors of nuclear reactor accidents (Chernobyl in 1986 has been studied) have an increased risk of thyroid and other types of cancer.X-rays and CT scans of the neck use low doses of radiation but medical testing has not been found to cause thyroid cancer. Nevertheless, in general, it is important to limit the amount of exposures to the least amount of radiation that will provide a clear enough image to help make a diagnosis.Diets low in iodine may increase the risk of thyroid cancer, but in developed countries, there is usually enough iodine used as food additives that this is not a problem. Lower levels of iodine in the diet may enhance the risk of radiation induced thyroid cancer.Women are three times more likely to develop thyroid cancer than men and at a slightly younger age (40 to 50 years old for women versus 60 to 70 for men).There may be a relationship between poorly controlled diabetes and an increased risk of thyroid cancer.There may be a genetic predisposition to thyroid cancer, especially in certain rare types of thyroid cancer.While smoking is associated with thyroid disease, worsening hypothyroidism and being a risk factor for Graves' disease, smoking does not appear to increase the risk of thyroid cancer.
What are the symptoms and signs of thyroid cancer?
Most often, a thyroid cancer is found when the patient or the patient's health care professional feels (palpates) a lump or nodule in the lower front of the neck where the thyroid is located. It is most often painless and found incidentally, by chance. Occasionally, an enlarged lymph node may be palpated by itself in the more lateral neck or in addition to a thyroid nodule.Most patients have normal thyroid function at the time the nodule is discovered and have no symptoms related to hyper or hypothyroidism.It the tumor grows locally, it may cause symptoms such as difficulty swallowing food (dysphagia) if it compresses the esophagus (which is rare) or hoarseness if the recurrent laryngeal nerve that is located near the thyroid gland -- which controls the vocal cords -- is invaded and causes vocal cord paralysis.In children, lumps in the neck are found frequently. Most often they are not in the thyroid gland itself. Aside from swollen lymph nodes associated with infections like pharyngitis, strep throat, or an ear infection (otitis media), lumps should not be ignored. In pediatric patients, thyroid cancer is the third most common solid tumor malignancy and the most common endocrine malignancy. The first sign might be a lump that is felt in the thyroid gland.
What are thyroid nodules?
A thyroid nodule is an abnormal growth found within the thyroid gland. It may be solid, fluid filled (cystic) -- usually with a jelly like substance called colloid -- or a combination of both.Most often nodules are found incidentally when the patient or health care professional feels the neck. Whether the nodule is benign or cancerous cannot necessarily be determined just by feeling it and further tests may be warranted.
What causes thyroid cancer?
The exact cause of thyroid cancer is not known, though there are factors that may be associated with an increased risk of developing the cancer. Even if the risk factors are present, there is not a way of knowing whether cancer might develop; patients without risk factors still may develop thyroid cancer.
What is the latest research on thyroid cancer?
Research continues regarding the best treatment for the different types of thyroid cancers. New drugs are being developed that specifically target the thyroid cancer cells by attacking specific genes or proteins.MTC (medullary thyroid cancer) research and treatments include developing anti-cancer antibodies and attaching them to radioactive iodine to be injected into the body so that the combination molecule is taken up by the thyroid gland and then specifically attaches to and destroys cancer cells.Clinical trials continue to enroll patients with many diseases, including thyroid cancer. If appropriate, your health care professional may be a resource in finding a clinical trial that may be beneficial. Clinical trials that are enrolling patients can be found at the U.S. National Cancer Institute web site (https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/clinical-trials/search).
What is the likelihood of thyroid cancer recurrence?
The recurrence rate of thyroid cancer depends upon whether the cancer remains localized within the thyroid gland or whether it has spread or metastasized to local structures in the neck or to distant sites in the body.In general, the recurrence risk of a cancer that has not spread is very low. For example, Italian researchers found that among patients with papillary cancer of the thyroid gland, those with a low risk of disease had a recurrence rate of about 1.4% at eight years.Researchers from the Mayo Clinic followed patients for up to 15 years and concluded that low risk patients had a recurrence rate of 3%-5%. However, they noted that more recently, thyroid cancer was being diagnosed much earlier and with the appropriate surgery, cure was much more likely and survival rate after surgery was very high.
What is the medical treatment for thyroid cancer?
Thyroid cancer is treated with a variety of therapies depending on the type and extent of cancer and the health of the patient.
What is the prognosis for patients with thyroid cancer? What is the survival rate for patients with thyroid cancer?
There are many types of thyroid cancer, and outcome depends upon the type of thyroid cancer and its stage.Patients who have papillary or follicular cancer that is confined to the thyroid gland may expect a normal life expectancy with treatment. Prognosis may be better for women who are younger than 40 years of age.Patients with anaplastic cancer do poorly, with many surviving only a few months after diagnosis. The five-year survival rate for this cancer is less than 10%.
What is the thyroid?
The thyroid gland is located in the front of the neck and is most well-known and responsible for producing thyroid hormone, the chemical in the body that is responsible for regulating the body's metabolism.Parafollicular cells in the thyroid produce the thyroid hormone. Too much thyroid production can cause hyperthyroidism (hyper=too much) where a person can experience rapid heartbeat and palpitations, sweating, heat intolerance, weight loss, and anxiety. Hypothyroidism (hypo=too little) may cause lethargy, weight gain, hair thinning, gravelly voice, and cold intolerance. The pituitary gland in the brain controls the amount of thyroid hormone that is produced by secreting thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH).C cells in the thyroid produce a hormone called calcitonin that helps to regulate calcium levels in the body.Other cells that are found in the thyroid include lymphocytes that are part of the body's immune system and stromal cells that help support the architecture of the thyroid gland itself.
What is thyroid cancer?
Thyroid cancer affects up to 20,000 people in the U.S. every year but accounts for only 1% of new cancers that develop in the U.S. Thyroid cancer is the most common endocrine cancer.DNA (mutations) that occur spontaneously or in response to an environmental exposure or toxic substances can alter normal thyroid cells. The genetic changes cause the cells to multiply very rapidly without the normal controls found in the rest of the gland. Any of the cell types found in the thyroid gland can mutate into a specific type of cancer.Cancer is different than goiter, an enlargement of the thyroid gland that may be associated with hyper or hypothyroidism. Worldwide, the most common cause of goiter is iodine deficiency. In countries where table salt is iodinated, the autoimmune disease Hashimoto's thyroiditis, is the most common cause. Graves' disease, another autoimmune disease, can also be associated with thyroid enlargement.Research from the U.S. National Cancer Institute (NCI) has found that while the number of thyroid cancers being diagnosed has increased in the past 30 years, the death rate from thyroid cancer has remained the same. This suggests that there are not more cancers occurring but instead health care professionals and patients have become better at finding lumps in the thyroid gland and making the diagnosis.
What kind of support is available for those with thyroid cancer?
Patients, families, and friends are all affected when the diagnosis of cancer is made. Support is available not only for the patient but for all those who are close to the patient. Hospitals, clinics, and health care professionals' offices often have specially trained staff to help patients and families address their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs.It is important for the patient and family to understand the disease, the treatment options, the expected outcomes, and the journey that will occur with cancer. It is important for all involved to advocate for the patient since there is so much information to understand and absorb; it can be overwhelming.There are many community resources available as well. The American Cancer Society is a good place to begin. They have local offices and may be contacted online.
What kinds of health care specialists treat thyroid cancer?
A variety of physicians may be involved in the evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of thyroid cancer. Primary care professionals may help coordinate care and may be the persons who make the initial diagnosis of thyroid gland abnormalities. Endocrinologists (physicians specializing in endocrine disorders) are specialists who specifically care for the thyroid. Surgeons may operate on the thyroid gland and thyroid cancer; these may be general surgeons or those with special training in head and neck surgery. Interventional radiologists may help with aspiration to obtain tissue samples, but this is also frequently performed by endocrinologists. Radiation oncologists, who are trained to provide radiation therapy treatments, may occasionally be asked to provide treatment. The care of thyroid cancer requires a team approach, but the members vary depending upon geographic location and availability of specialists.
Diseases & Illnesses Definitions Of The Day
- Miliaria (Heat Rash) ‐
- Adult Behavior Disorders (Mental Health (Psychology)) ‐ Can mental health disorders be prevented?, How is mental illness diagnosed? …
- Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) ‐ How do physicians diagnose toxic shock syndrome?, Is it possible to prevent toxic shock syndrome? …
- Arthritis, Scleroderma (Scleroderma) ‐ How do health care professionals make a diagnosis of scleroderma? …
- Nosebleed ‐ How do you prevent the nose from bleeding again?, How do you stop the common nosebleed? …
- High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (Pulmonary Edema) ‐ How can pulmonary edema be prevented?, How is the condition diagnosed? …
- Basal Body Temperature Methods to Conceive (Trying to Conceive) ‐ Counseling and support groups for help, Taking your temperature to conceive …
- Diverticulitis (Diverticulosis) ‐
- Kernicterus ‐ How is newborn jaundice diagnosed?, Newborn jaundice and kernicterus facts …
- Thyroid Blood Tests ‐ Are there other tests of the thyroid gland?, How is hypothyroidism diagnosed? …