A diagnosis of cancer can be a life-changing experience. You may not know where to turn, who to talk to or what to do, but modern-day medicine has come a long way and may well help you to beat the illness. If you've been told that you may have thyroid cancer, in particular, you may not know much about this part of your body or what may have gone wrong and it's important to come to terms with the details, while learning about your options. Where should you start?
What's Gone Wrong?
Thyroid cancer is quite rare and affects a gland that is found beneath your adam's apple and towards the base of the neck. Specifically, it is positioned in the lower front of the neck and behind the collar bones. When cancer sets in, it can affect the rate at which the thyroid gland produces specific hormones that control your metabolism. This can lead to an increase or decrease in weight and other symptoms, such as drowsiness, sickness or nerve issues.
Evaluating the Options
The specialist will advise you of the various courses of treatment available in your case. Much will depend on the specific location and type, and how far it has spread. The doctor will take into account your overall fitness level and health when recommending the next step.
Normally, surgery is a preferred option to remove the cancer, and they may end up either partially or completely removing the thyroid.
If you have surgery, you may then be asked to undergo hormone therapy to replace the hormones that would normally have been made by the thyroid gland. A specific type of therapy can also help to stop the body from making any 'stimulating' hormone that may encourage the cancer to return.
Consult with a doctor like Jane Harding Endocrine Surgeon to learn about surgical treatments.
Alternatively, you may be advised to undergo a course of radiotherapy, where the iodine in the treatment kills the specific cancer cells.
In advanced cases, chemotherapy is a good option to disrupt and destroy any cancer cells. It can help to keep the condition from expanding or spreading to other areas.
There are also a variety of different drugs that are specified to treat this condition that may augment the body's natural defence and serve to control how cancer cells may grow.
Investigating Other Options
Don't forget to talk extensively with your medical team to see what latest innovations are available. In some cases you may be eligible to take part in clinical trials to test out some revolutionary new methods of treating the illness.