In the intricate landscape of medical conditions, the thyroid gland and its potential afflictions hold a unique significance. Dr. Narayana Subramaniam here, Senior Consultant and Director of Head & Neck Surgery, as well as the Director of Clinical Innovation at SPARSH Hospital, Infantry Road. Join me as we embark on a comprehensive exploration of thyroid cancer, unraveling its intricacies, prevalence, diagnostic approaches, treatment modalities, and the all-important question of its curability.
How Common is Thyroid Cancer and at What Age Does it Occur?
Thyroid cancer, a nuanced condition, exhibits distinct gender and age-related patterns. More prevalent in women, the estimated incidence in India stands at 3-4 cases per 1 lakh population for women and 1 case per 1 lakh population for men. Striking across age groups, from children to the elderly, thyroid cancer finds its most common ground in the 30 to 50-year age bracket. With my experience in the field, I’ll shed light on the four major types of thyroid cancer, with a particular emphasis on the remarkably common papillary carcinoma and its excellent response to treatment.
What are the Signs of Thyroid Cancer?
Recognizing the subtle signs of thyroid cancer is pivotal for early intervention. From a movable lump in the front of the neck to alterations in voice, discomfort while swallowing, or the presence of a neck lump signaling lymph node involvement, understanding these signs is crucial. Drawing on my expertise, I’ll also shed light on the occasional incidental discovery of thyroid cancer during unrelated neck scans and the rare instances where it presents as a rapidly growing, painful swelling in the neck.
How is it Diagnosed? Should I Get Screened for Thyroid Cancer?
Accurate diagnosis is the foundation of effective treatment. Join me in exploring the diagnostic process, predominantly involving ultrasound scans of the neck and fine needle aspiration cytology. As a specialist, I’ll address the question of screening, emphasizing that routine screening may not be necessary for individuals without a family history of thyroid cancer, and why this cautious approach is crucial.
How is it Treated?
The crux of thyroid cancer treatment often involves surgical removal of the thyroid gland, a procedure that may include excision of affected lymph nodes in the neck. I’ll guide you through the role of radioiodine therapy, a nuclear medicine intervention that proves effective in treating distant disease and reducing the risk of recurrence. Additionally, we’ll explore other treatment modalities such as radiotherapy or chemotherapy, tailored to the specific type and stage of cancer.
Is it Curable?
In the realm of thyroid cancer, hope emerges in the statistics. Younger patients with papillary cancers boast nearly 100% survival at 5 years. I’ll delve into the factors influencing curability rates, emphasizing the importance of early diagnosis and comprehensive treatment guided by qualified specialists. Each patient’s journey is unique, and while advanced disease presents challenges, it does not necessarily equate to insurmountable obstacles.
As we navigate the complexities of thyroid cancer together, armed with knowledge and a personalized approach, the journey becomes more manageable. Dr. Narayana Subramaniam at SPARSH Hospital, Infantry Road, is committed to shedding light on thyroid cancer, from its subtle signs to the intricacies of treatment and the hopeful prospects of curability. Join me in this exploration, empowering individuals to face thyroid cancer with resilience and optimism.