Thyroid Cancer - Adventist HealthCare

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Thyroid Cancer

Thyroid cancer occurs at the front part of your neck in the gland that regulates growth, body temperature and metabolism. If you develop this condition, take comfort in knowing it has nearly the highest survival rate of all cancers. Improve your health and longevity when you get advanced care for thyroid cancer at Adventist HealthCare.

Risk Factors for Thyroid Cancer

You may be more likely to develop thyroid cancer if you:

  • Are female
  • Have been exposed to radiation, such as through medical procedures or nuclear power plant accidents
  • Have a family history of thyroid cancer
  • Eat a diet low in iodine (which is unlikely in the United States)

Thyroid Cancer Symptoms

Talk to your doctor at Adventist HealthCare if you notice any of these symptoms of thyroid cancer:

  • A lump or swelling in your neck
  • Pain at the front of your neck that may spread to your ears
  • Persistent hoarseness or other voice changes
  • Difficulty swallowing or breathing
  • A cough that hangs on but isn’t caused by a cold

Diagnosing Thyroid Cancer

To diagnose or rule out thyroid cancer, your physician will physically examine your neck and may recommend a:

  • Blood test – Reveals whether your thyroid is working normally
  • Ultrasound exam – Helps identify nodules (lumps) that are more likely to be cancerous and checks the number and size of nodules
  • Radioiodine scan – Gives you a small amount of radioactive iodine that’s absorbed by your thyroid and shows up on a special camera to reveal nodules
  • Biopsy – Places a tiny needle into a thyroid nodule to remove a few cells for testing; about 5 percent of fine-needle aspiration biopsies lead to a diagnosis of cancer

Thyroid Cancer Treatment

At Adventist HealthCare, your treatment for thyroid cancer will begin with surgery to remove cancerous thyroid nodules and all or part of the remaining gland. Whenever possible, surgeons perform this procedure, called a thyroidectomy, using a minimally invasive technique that reduces pain and recovery time.

Following surgery, you may be asked to swallow a pill containing radioactive iodine, which will concentrate in your thyroid and destroy any remaining cancerous tissue. You’ll stay in the hospital for two days during this therapy.

After thyroid cancer treatment, you’ll probably need to take daily thyroid hormone replacement pills. The medication can help maintain your body’s metabolism and prevent cancer from returning.

Get Personal Support

During your journey through cancer diagnosis, treatment and recovery, you’ll get medical and emotional support from a compassionate, experienced cancer care team. You can also turn to our support and wellness services for help feeling better in mind, body and spirit.

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