Thyroid cancer is a malign condition that starts in the thyroid, which is a butterfly shaped gland in front of the neck responsible for regulating the metabolism of the body. In most patients with thyroid cancer, the doctor removes the entire gland surgically. This procedure is called thyroidectomy. The survival rates of most kinds of thyroid cancer are quite high. Surgery is not the only solution to ensure that a patient with thyroid cancer has to better his/her quality of life.
Radioactive iodine is a form of treatment for thyroid cancer post surgery, which is taken either as a pill or liquid. Radioactive iodine kills the thyroid tissue that is left after surgery to ensure that the microscopic cells are removed completely from the thyroid gland. This form of treatment promises to improve the survival rate in people with a differentiated thyroid cancer. This treatment is safe because radioactive thyroid is taken up only by the thyroid cells keeping the other organs and cells of the body safe.
When the thyroid gland is taken away, the patient must take thyroid hormone for a lifetime to ensure that the body functions as it should. Typically, health care professionals prescribe a synthetic hormone named levothyroxine that is identical to hormones missing in the body. Levothyroxine replaces the missing chemicals and suppresses the overproduction of thyroid-stimulating hormone by the pituitary gland that is likely to cause the regrowth of cancer cells that are left in the body. Thyroid hormone replacement is known to be an effective form of treatment for thyroid cancer post surgery.
External radiation therapy or high-energy rays from a machine is meticulously focussed on the affected part of the body for thyroid cancer that does not take the iodine up. The type of thyroid cancer that uses this treatment is the medullary thyroid cancer. This type of therapy reduces the probability of cancer to reappear in the neck.
Chemotherapy is a drug treatment, which is given to a patient as an injection to one of the veins. This treatment is sometimes used for thyroid cancer that has reached an advanced stage or has not responded well to other forms of treatment. Overall, this treatment is not really useful for the treatment of thyroid cancer. Besides, chemotherapy has been known to have several side-effects and is therefore, not opted by many thyroid cancer patients.
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