CHENNAI: With the theme for 2016 World Thyroid day being, ’Early detection key to treating Thyroid cancer’, experts talk to City Express about Thyroid cancer, it’s growth, treatment and early diagnosis.
Of all the cancer types, thyroid cancer is the one that’s always detected accidentally. A regular health check-up is important to detect and diagnose it, as the incidence of thyroid cancer is increasing steadily every year. “Though, the mortality rate is not alarming in thyroid cancer, check-ups are necessary,” say experts.
Thyroid cancer is a malignant growth or tumour in the thyroid gland, a most common cancer of the endocrine system. Thyroid cancer occurs in any age group and it is more common in women than in men. If detected early, it is 100% curable, say doctors.
“Last year, 167 new cases were reported in our hospital, which is slightly higher when compared to the 2014 figures (120 cases). This may be due to better awareness about health check-up. So, higher cases are diagnosed,” says Dr Shelly Simon, senior consultant, department of Nuclear Medicine, Apollo Hospital, Chennai.
Surgical removal of the entire thyroid gland (total thyroidectomy) is the only primary management for thyroid cancer. After surgery, the patient requires radioactive iodine scans and ablative procedures when indicated. “Thyroid cancer is asymptomatic in the initial stage. The survival rate of thyroid cancer is more than 20 years, unlike in the case of other cancers,” says Dr Arvind Krishnamurthy, professor of surgical oncology, Cancer Institute, Adyar.
However, early detection is better and not all the nodules in the throat are cancerous.
“Whatever it is, better to get it checked by a doctor,” suggests Dr Arvind. Since there’s a possibility of recurrence even after surgery, regular check-ups are advised after surgery. In India, though the recurring rate is low, the number of new cases of thyroid cancer is 13.9 per 10,000 men and women per year. There is a general perception that intake of more salt would cause cancer. It is not scientifically proven. The iodine can only cause enlargement of the nodule, claim doctors.
“There is awareness about cancer generally, but not about specific cancers like thyroid cancer,” rues Dr Arvind. So, the message is — don’t take any lump formation or swelling in the throat lightly, see a doctor immediately. “Because sooner the diagnosis, the faster the cure,” advices Dr Shelly.