It is not one of the most talked about and hence many people are not even aware of it, but the country records more than 4,000 new cases every year. thyroid cancer, And its outbreak is increasing.
They are tumors that usually go unnoticed, as they do not cause pain. Therefore, on the eve of world thyroid cancer daySpecialists take this opportunity to raise awareness of the signs that warrant a consultation which can lead to early diagnosis and treatment, which favors a very good prognosis.
Thyroid Cancer in Argentina
According to data from the National Cancer Institute (INC) based on data from the Global Cancer Observatory (GloboCan), the country has about 4,100 cases of thyroid cancer year.
it puts him in eighth place In terms of frequency (caused by most cases are breast, colon and lung tumors).
It is much more common in women aged 40 to 50 than men: for every 5 cases detected in them (3,347 in 2020), only one is diagnosed in men (669). Even then, in them it is usually more aggressive,
However, in the figures Death rate at 27th place, In 2020, according to data published by the INC, it caused 243 deaths, just 0.4% of all tumor types registered in the country.
what is thyroid cancer
thyroid gland is orchestra director of many metabolic processes.
Therefore, its proper functioning is the key to avoid experiencing symptoms that can alter quality of life such as fatigue, lack of concentration, hair loss or nail problems, nervousness, difficulty losing weight, insomnia and sexual dysfunction. Loss of desire, others.
Thyroid cancer includes four types of tumors that attack the gland, which it is shaped like a butterfly and is located in the neck.
Growth occurs by changes in the DNA of the affected cells.
“This mutation causes them to start multiply and multiply, instead of completing his cycle and dying. When this happens, they start accumulating, thus creating tumors,” explains Agustín Falco, a specialist in Head and Neck/Thyroid Tumors at the Alexander Fleming Institute.
Why are cases of thyroid cancer increasing?
Thyroid cancer cases are increasing worldwide.
“In recent times, there has been an increase in cases around the world, probably because found in the form of conclusions When a person undergoes an imaging test for a variety of reasons”, Dr. Virginia Busnelli explains in the book Is it stress or your thyroid? (Athenaeum Publishers).
and Falco points out that thyroid cancer is most common endocrine malignancyWith an increasing incidence worldwide (13 to 14 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants per year).
Oncologists agree that this increase is due to the fact that the health system today has more advanced resources for diagnosis.
“There is a greater dissemination of studies, such as cervical ultrasound, which detects subclinical asymptomatic tumours. That is, tumours that occur by chance, which are known as ‘incidentalomas’.”
“However, despite the increasing incidence of thyroid cancer in recent decades, More than 50% reduction in mortality“, underlines Juan Manuel Fernandez Villa, head of the head and neck surgery sector of the German hospital.
types of thyroid cancer
More than 9 out of 10 cases of thyroid cancer are called cancerous differentiatedwhich includes variants hairy (most common) and follicular,
“The five-year survival rate for this type of cancer is close to 98% because it has a low rate of aggression and has an excellent response to standard treatment, radioactive iodine following surgery, or observation,” Busnelli says.
Other types are much less common: the medullary cancer, which arise in parafollicular cells, commonly associated with other endocrine tumors; And this health carewhich is a more aggressive form that responds less to treatment, but is very rare.
“The prognosis will depend on several factors, but mainly on the size and extent of neighboring structures as well as distant metastases,” the doctor says.
symptoms of thyroid cancer
Falco warns that many patients come to the office without a doubt disease.
But this is something that happens not only with cancer, but with all disorders involving the thyroid. “A recent study showed that 60% of people who had an abnormality in the gland didn’t know it.”
Often one of these tumors slow growthSo at first they don’t give warning signs.
And beyond the fact that the tumor is often found as an “incidental finding” (it is found undetected when a cervical ultrasound is requested for no other reason), the most frequent form of presentation is asymptomatic cervical nodulesThe oncologist at Fleming explains.
For this reason, it underscores the importance of consultation prior to the appearance of a lump or swelling On the side of the neck, since these nodules are “usually asymptomatic and benign, they may also be the result of tumor growth”.
To a lesser extent, thyroid cancer can also present Difficulty swallowing and breathing or hoarse voice, But since these symptoms are usually common to other pathologies or disorders, it is recommended to have a medical consultation to clarify the diagnosis.
How is thyroid cancer diagnosed?
When a suspicious thyroid nodule is detected, a puncture is performed under ultrasound guidance to make the diagnosis tumor or not,
“It is important to note that not all thyroid nodules should be punctured, as the vast majority are benign (about 95%),” explains Falco.
Like other types of cancer, restrictions imposed to contain the COVID-19 pandemic have led to a reduction in early consultations “and we find ourselves with tumors diagnosed in these times.” more advanced stage“Warns the oncologist.
How is thyroid cancer treated?
Once the diagnosis is defined and the characteristics of the tumor are known, the most convenient therapeutic options for the patient are determined (various options include surgery, radiotherapy, nuclear medicine, and targeted therapies).
“There is a need for evaluation of patients and discussion of all cases in centers with experience in the management of this pathology.” multidisciplinary teamnecessary to make better decisions”, says Falco.
Fernandez Villa specifies that the main treatment is total thyroidectomy (removal of the entire gland) and, in select cases, hematoroidectomia (removal of half of the gland).
“Treatment with radioactive iodine It may act as an adjuvant to destroy if traces of tumor cells remain after resection”, says Busnelli.
living without thyroid
“No Butterfly” Patients Need take levothyroxine For life, says the doctor. Higher doses are usually indicated initially.
“The control will be done with Ultrasound and blood tests Where the amount of thyroglobulin will be measured.”
Thyroglobulin is released by thyroid cells, “therefore, we should not find it in our circulation after this gland is removed, if at any time we find it in the blood we may suspect tumor recurrence.”
Can thyroid cancer be prevented?
“There are no specific prevention measures, however, as it is always emphasized, a Healthy LifeAvoidance of tobacco, alcohol consumption and timely medical control allows for early detection and better management of this disease”, concludes Falco.
Want to read more about thyroid health?
You may find these notes of interest:
From spirulina to puffy eyes, the 15 most common myths about the thyroid
20 Anti-Inflammatory Tips for Feeling Better and Getting Healthier
Thyroid: Dos and don’ts to take care of the gland that controls metabolism
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