Thyroid Cancer

Mary Taylor, Emma, & Errol

What is Thyroid Cancer?

WHAT IS IT?/BACKGROUND

(Errol Kelly)

Thyroid cancer is a cancer that develops in the thyroid cartilage ( Adam’s apple area) in the front of the neck.


The thyroid gland has mainly 2 types of cells:


Follicular cells use iodine from the blood to make thyroid hormones, which help regulate a person’s metabolism. Having too much thyroid hormone (a condition called hyperthyroidism) can cause a rapid or irregular heartbeat, trouble sleeping, nervousness, hunger, weight loss, and a feeling of being too warm. Having too little hormone (called hypothyroidism) causes a person to slow down, feel tired, and gain weight. The amount of thyroid hormone released by the thyroid is regulated by the pituitary gland at the base of the brain, which makes a substance called thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH).


C cells (also called parafollicular cells) make calcitonin, a hormone that helps control how the body uses calcium.


The rest of the cells, which aren’t recognized very often, are immune system cells and supportive cells.


Depending on the cell that cancer is developing in the type of cancer can differ. The only serious change however can be how aggressive the cancer is and what treatment will be needed ( "What Is Thyroid Cancer?").

WHAT GENE EFFECTS IT? (mary taylor)

DNA mutations in the RET gene have been found in thyroid cancer patients which are usually acquired over time instead of inherited. It is less understood how genetic mutations cause thyroid cancer, because it is mostly caused by environmental causes like radiation. Mutations in the BRAF gene can also lead to thyroid cancer in a more aggressive form. The mutations are usually not inherited, but developed over time. When these genes are mutated, it makes thyroid cells over produce and become cancerous ("Do We Know What Causes Thyroid Cancer").

WHO IS IT COMMON IN? (mary taylor)

Although most would assume thyroid cancer is more common in men because they have an Adam's apple, middle aged women are three times more likely to get thyroid cancer than men. Also, it occurs in their 40's- 50's versus men who usually have it in their 60's-70's ("Do We Know What Causes Thyroid Cancer?"). Due to hormones, women are more prone to having lumps in their thyroid gland. However, they can be false alarms, versus men who aren't has prone to getting lumps so they are usually cancerous.

Brief History on Thyroid Cancer

( Errol Kelly )

“A history of benign thyroid diseases has been associated with the risk of thyroid cancer. We have analyzed this issue using data from a case-control study conducted in northern Italy between 1986 and 1992 on 399 incident, histologically confirmed thyroid cancer cases and 617 controls admitted to the hospital for acute, nonneoplastic, non-hormone-related disease” ("Result Filters" )

EXTERNAL CAUSES (mary taylor)

Low-iodine diet: A diet that contains very little iodine has been associated with an increased risk of follicular thyroid cancers. This may explain why these cancers are seen less frequently in the United States, where iodine is added to salt and other foods. Individuals who do not get enough iodine in their diets may also be at increased risk for papillary cancers if they are exposed to radioactivity.

Radiation exposure: Being exposed to radiation, including the kind used for certain medical treatments, as well as fallout from nuclear weapons or power plant accidents, can increase a person’s thyroid cancer risk. In particular, childhood exposure carries a greater risk of later developing thyroid cancer than exposure as an adult.

STAGES OF THYROID CANCER (mary taylor)

Stage I: In stage I of thyroid cancer, the tumor is 2 cm or smaller (less than an inch wide), and has not grown outside the thyroid. It has not spread to nearby lymph nodes or distant sites.

Stage II: The diameter of the primary tumor ranges from 2 to 4 cm. There are no cancer cells in regional lymph nodes or distant sites in the body.

The primary tumor is larger than four cm in diameter or has started to grow outside of the thyroid gland. No cancer was found in the lymph nodes or other parts of the body (medullary thyroid cancer only)

Stage III: The primary tumor is larger than 4 cm, or has grown outside the thyroid, but has not spread to nearby lymph nodes or beyond (differentiated cancers only).

The tumor can be any size or be growing outside the thyroid, and has spread to lymph nodes in the neck but no farther.

Stage IV: Stage IV, the most advanced stage of thyroid cancer, is further subdivided depending on where the cancer has spread:

· Stage IVA: Cancers at this stage have grown beyond the thyroid gland and may have spread into nearby tissue, or they may have spread to lymph nodes in the neck and upper chest, but not to distant sites.

· Stage IVB: The primary tumor has grown into the spine or into nearby large blood vessels. In this thyroid cancer stage, the disease may or may not have spread to lymph nodes, but has not reached distant sites.

· Stage IVC: The thyroid cancer cells have metastasized, or spread to distant sites.

Stage IV anaplastic thyroid cancer:

Anaplastic/undifferentiated thyroid cancers are much more aggressive than the other subtypes and are all considered stage IV:

· Stage IVA: The primary tumor is contained within the thyroid gland, although it may or may not have spread to nearby lymph nodes. It has not spread to distant organs.

· Stage IVB: The tumor has spread outside of the thyroid gland, and cancer cells may or may not have been found in regional lymph nodes, but have not reached distant sites.

· Stage IVC: The cancer cells have spread beyond the thyroid gland to more distant parts of the body. ("You Have Thyroid Cancer. We're here to Help").

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU'RE DIAGNOSED? (Emma)

Thyroid cancer occurs when irregular cells start growing in the thyroid gland. You’ll probably notice a lump in your neck. This cancer is usually found and diagnosed before it is really dangerous. Before starting treatment, your doctor needs to find out which type of thyroid cancer you have. A biopsy can easily accomplish this task. During the biopsy, a piece of the thyroid gland is removed with a fine needle and then examined. It is also important to determine the stage of the cancer, which depends on the type of thyroid cancer you have been diagnosed with. If your thyroid gland is surgically removed, you will need to take thyroid hormone medicine for the remainder of your lifetime, since you will have lost the source of the hormones from your thyroid ("Thyroid Cancer - What Happens").

SYMPTOMS INCLUDE:


(Emma)

In the early stages of thyroid cancer, there are no symptoms. As it grows, a few symptoms may appear, such as a lump that can be felt through the skin, changes to your voice, difficulty swallowing, neck and throat pain, and swollen lymph nodes in your neck ("Symptoms").


(Mary Taylor)

Neck pain: In many cases, neck pain starts in the front. In some cases the neck pain may extend all the way to the ears.

Voice changes: Experiencing hoarseness or other voice changes that do not go away could be a sign of thyroid cancer.

Breathing problems: Sometimes thyroid cancer patients say it feels like they are breathing through a straw. This breathing difficulty is often a symptom of the disease.

Coughing: A cough that continues and is not related to a cold.

Trouble swallowing: A growth or nodule on the thyroid gland may interfere with swallowing

("Thyroid Cancer Symptoms").

TREATMENT FOR THYROID CANCER (Errol)

Thyroid Cancer Treatment

Treatment Options:

Treatments, which are usually successful, include surgery, hormone therapy, radioactive iodine, radiation, and in some cases chemotherapy. (What Is Thyroid Cancer?)

However, the most successful and efficient treatment is radioactive iodine.

How much can it cost?

A radioactive iodine treatment costs about $390 to $750 for an average dose.

Survival Rate

The survivability of thyroid cancer depends on both the stages and the type of thyroid cancer.

Papillary thyroid cancer*



Stage

5-Year Relative Survival Rate



I

near 100%



II

near 100%



III

93%



IV

51%



Follicular thyroid cancer*



Stage

5-Year Relative Survival Rate



I

near 100%



II

near 100%



III

71%



IV

50%




Medullary thyroid cancer**



Stage

5-Year Relative Survival Rate



I

near 100%



II

98%



III

81%



IV

28%




(Survival Rates for Thyroid Cancer)

Life Style Changes

After being diagnosed with thyroid cancer, your life will be changed forever. The most you can do about the situation is adapt to a healthier and much more nutritional diet and lifestyle. This includes eating better and making healthier choices.


Your body also experiences several symptoms after treatment such as fatigue. This extreme tiredness is very common in people treated for cancer. This is not a normal tiredness, but a bone-weary exhaustion that doesn’t get better with rest. For some people, fatigue lasts a long time after treatment, and can make it hard for them to be active and do other things they want to do. But exercise can help reduce fatigue. Studies have shown that patients who follow an exercise program tailored to their personal needs feel better physically and emotionally and can cope better, too. (About Thyroid Cancer)

WORKS CITED

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