There are many types of thyroid cancer, medullary thyroid cancer is one. This type of thyroid cancer usually begins in the upper central lobe of the thyroid glands. When still in its early stage, the cancer cells spread to the lymph nodes. It may also occur in four clinical settings which are related to other endocrine tumors. Statistics show that women are more likely to suffer from medullary thyroid cancer than men.
Medullary Thyroid Cancer Symptoms
Just like any other types of cancer, medullary thyroid cancer also has symptoms. However, its symptoms vary per stage. More often than not, medullary thyroid cancer does not show symptoms ate first. But as the cancer cells grow, it also spreads. When this happens, an individual may feel the following:
- Difficulty in breathing
- Difficulty in speaking even when using one’s normal voice
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Pain in the throat or neck
At times, the above-mentioned symptoms may also not be caused by medullary thyroid cancer but also by goiter or other infections as well. It is best to see a doctor when these symptoms are felt in order to be sure which illness or disease one is suffering from and for proper diagnosis and treatment to be given.
Calcitonin and Medullary Thyroid Cancer
A hormone that specifically participates in the calcium and phosphorus metabolism in the body is called calcitonin. An individual that is treated for medullary thyroid cancer is advised to undergo a calcitonin test in order to be able to assess if the medullary thyroid cancer treatment is effective. Calcitonin test results are also used to determine if there are any recurrences after a certain treatment. Other than calcitonin test, a stimulation test may also be performed since it is more sensitive compared to calcitonin test. Blood samples are then collected after this test to observe the effect of stimulation. People with medullary thyroid cancer usually have high levels of calcitonin when both tests are performed.
Medullary Thyroid Cancer Treatment
People with medullary thyroid cancer are normally referred to oncologists or doctors that specialize in treating cancer. When it comes to medullary thyroid cancer treatment, though the diagnosis itself causes stress and shock, one would want to know what options are available and all the necessary information regarding a certain treatment. One treatment option would be thyroidectomy or the removal of the thyroid glands. This surgical operation is performed to ensure that the cancer cells are not able to spread. In thyroidectomy, either a part of the thyroid gland or the whole thyroid glands are removed. IT depends if the cancer cells are able to spread to other parts of the thyroid or the whole thyroid area. This surgical process may also remove some of the lymph nodes if and when the cancer had spread already, since normally, when the cancer cells spread, it first attacks the lymph nodes. This surgery’s goals are to eliminate the cancer cells and prevent the cancer cells from coming back.
Medullary Thyroid Cancer Prognosis
Medullary thyroid cancer when detected while still in its early stage, it may still be cured, especially when treated accordingly. However, medullary thyroid cancer prognosis or chance of recovery is poor since it has a tendency of spreading to other parts of the body.