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Thyroid Cancers and Thyroidectomy

Thyroid Cancers and Thyroidectomy

What is Thyroid Gland?

The thyroid gland is an organ that is located under the thyroid cartilage in the front of the neck and has an endocrine function. The thyroid gland produces hormones that regulate heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and body weight.

What is Thyroid Cancer?

Thyroid cancer is a type of rare cancer that occurs when cells in the thyroid gland turn into structures with cancer characteristics. Thyroid cancers usually appear as a mass in the neck or a nodule in the thyroid gland.

What are the Symptoms of Thyroid Cancer?

Thyroid cancer typically does not show any signs or symptoms in the early stages of the disease. Later on, the following symptoms may occur:

  1. A lump that can be felt on the skin of your neck,
  2. Progress in hoarseness and changes in voice,
  3. Difficulty swallowing,
  4. Pain in your neck and throat,
  5. Swollen lymph nodes in your neck,
  6. Nervousness, fatigue, weight gain, and weak hair.

What are the Types of Thyroid Cancer?

Four main types of cancer are seen in the thyroid gland:

Papillary Type: It constitutes 80% of thyroid cancers. Generally, it may remain under 1 cm without growing for many years and may not show symptoms. For example, in cases where the thyroid gland is surgically removed due to another reason, the rate of incidence is very high. Papillary thyroid cancer most often affects people between the ages of 30 and 50.

Follicular Type: It is a type of cancer that mostly affects women between the ages of 40 and 60. 10% of thyroid cancers are follicular type. Follicular cancers are the most difficult group to diagnose among thyroid cancers.

Medullary Type: They constitute 5% of thyroid cancers. It begins in thyroid cells called C cells that produce the hormone calcitonin and is often linked to genetic predisposition.

Anaplastic Type: It is a rare and rapidly growing cancer that is very difficult to treat. It typically occurs in adults aged 60 and over.

What Causes Thyroid Cancer?

Cancerous cells form when cells in the thyroid gland undergo a genetic change (mutation). These mutations allow cells to proliferate rapidly. Abnormal thyroid cells form a tumor by accumulating and can spread throughout the body.

What Are Thyroid Cancer Risk Factors?

Factors that can increase the risk of thyroid cancer include the following:

Gender: Thyroid cancer is more common in women than men.

Exposure to high levels of radiation.

Inherited genetic syndromes.

What is Triodectomy?

Thyroidectomy is used to treat thyroid disorders such as cancer, noncancerous thyroid enlargement (goiter), and overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism). Thyroidectomy is the surgical removal of all or part of your thyroid gland. If you need only part of your thyroid removed (partial thyroidectomy), your thyroid may function normally after surgery. If your entire thyroid is removed (total thyroidectomy), you need daily thyroid hormone therapy to change the natural function of your thyroid.

What Are the Risks of Thyroidectomy Surgery?

Thyroidectomy is generally a safe procedure. However, as with any surgery, thyroidectomy surgery may have risks. Possible risks include:

  • - Bleeding,
  • - Infection,
  • - Low levels of parathyroid hormone (hypoparathyroidism) caused by surgical damage or
  • removal of the parathyroid glands,
  • - Airway obstruction caused by bleeding,
  • - Permanent hoarse or weak voice due to nerve damage.

What Should Be Considered After Thyroidectomy?

You may experience discomfort in swallowing for a few weeks after surgery, which usually improves over time. Make sure to eat soft foods at first, then switch to a normal diet. There may be some redness in the wound and some swelling in the upper half of the neck for several weeks after surgery. This is normal and usually resolves. You can continue your normal activities approximately 4-5 days after the operation.

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