nursing care for thyroid cancer

Thyroid Cancer care at home can be challenging for the patient and for loved ones. With a help of a medically trained Oncology nurse, you can avail Central line care, PICC line care and supporting Oncological care in the comfort of your home.

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thyroid cancer definition

Content is medically reviewed by:

Dr. Udaya Kumar Maiya (MBBS, MD, DNB(RT), DCCF (Paris), Medical Director, Portea.

The medical definition of thyroid cancer defines the disease as ‘a cancer of the gland located in front of the neck, which is responsible for producing thyroid hormone that regulates the metabolism, blood pressure and body temperature of the body.’

what is thyroid cancer?

Thyroid cancer is the cancer of the thyroid gland. The cancer cells develop abnormally from the tissues of the thyroid gland and are capable to grow at a rapid rate and spread to other parts of the body. It is one of the most curable types of cancer with early detection. Thyroid cancer is more common in women than men and is basically found in the age group above 30 years and with the progression of age the cancer can get severe.

thyroid cancer types:

Thyroid cancer types are determined by their histopathological characteristics and as such four different types of thyroid cancer has been identified. They are;

  1. Papillary Thyroid Cancer: It is the most common forms of thyroid cancer and mostly affects young females.  It is characterised by slow growth but can eventually spread to the nymph nodes in the neck
  2. Follicular Thyroid Cancer: Follicular thyroid cancer is pretty aggressive in the sense that it can spread to the blood vessels and lymph nodes.
  3. Medullary Thyroid cancer: It is the cancer of the parafollicular cells and people affected with it have been found to have it in their family history.
  4. Anaplastlic Thyroid cancer: It is one of the most severe forms of thyroid cancer owing to its advanced and aggressive nature. It is a pretty rare form of thyroid cancer and does not respond very well to conventional treatment.

Besides these four main types of thyroid cancer, the other types of thyroid cancer are;

  • Thyroid Lymphoma
  • Squamous Cell Thyroid Carcinoma
  • Sarcoma of Thyroid

thyroid cancer symptoms:

Thyroid cancer symptoms do not necessarily show in the early stages of the disease and as the cancer starts to progress, then do the various thyroid cancer symptoms begin to show more prominently. The common thyroid cancer symptoms are; 

  • Pain in the neck and throat
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Changes in the voice, increased hoarseness
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
  • Formation of lumps in the neck that can be felt through the skin

thyroid cancer causes:

There is no clear thyroid cancer causes, it occurs as a result of the genetic mutation of the normal cells of the thyroid gland but, why do these cells undergo mutation is not yet clear. However, there are a few risk factors that are seen as being contributory to thyroid cancer. The common risk factors or thyroid cancer causes are;

  • Gender:  The female population is more at risk of thyroid cancer than men.
  • Exposure to high levels of radiation:  Exposure to high levels of radiation can lead to cell mutation
  • Genetics – There are few genetic syndromes that make females more susceptible to thyroid cancer like multiple endocrine neoplasia type – 2

thyroid cancer diagnosis

The various thyroid cancer tests and diagnostic tools used in thyroid cancer diagnosis are as follows;

  • The first step in thyroid cancer tests is a physical examination, wherein the doctors check for physical changes in the thyroid gland and ascertain all the risk factors and family history if any
  • After the results of the physical examination further thyroid cancer diagnostic tests are advised like blood tests to determine the proper functioning of the thyroid gland.
  • In conjunction with the thyroid cancer diagnostic tests other thyroid cancer screening tests are advised like CT scans, PET scans, MRI scans and ultrasound
  • In some cases doctors also advise another thyroid cancer screening test called genetic testing to look for genes that make the person more susceptible to thyroid cancer.

thyroid cancer home treatment:

Thyroid cancer home treatment involves thyroid cancer care at home by means of diet changes and other thyroid cancer care. The various remedies that form a part of thyroid cancer home treatment are as follows;

  • Adopting a low sodium diet and avoiding foods like iodized salt, seafood, dairy products, chocolate, packaged bread and baked products, etc
  • Therapeutic disciplines like aromatherapy, acupuncture, yoga provide the much needed relief from the stress and pain attached with thyroid cancer and is one of the best part of thyroid cancer care at home
  • Ayurveda, naturopathy and Chinese medications can help in offering some relief in thyroid can cancer but they are not a substitute to conventional treatment.

thyroid cancer treatment:

Thyroid cancer is the most treatable form of cancer if detected in its early stages. The typical thyroid cancer treatment plan includes surgery, thyroid hormone therapy, radioactive iodine, external radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted drug therapy and injection of alcohol in the cancer cells. What type of thyroid cancer treatment is to be followed depends upon the type and stage of the thyroid cancer.

  • Surgery – Surgery is basically used for the complete or partial removal of the thyroid gland or the lymph nodes.
  • Thyroid Hormone Therapy – This therapy is followed by the removal of the thyroid gland. This therapy basically involves prescribing thyroid hormone medication for life long for providing the missing hormones produced by the thyroid gland.
  • Radioactive Iodine – This procedure involves giving large doses of iodine that is radioactive in a form of a pill. The radioactive iodine will pass out through the urine, however, during this time patients are recommended to avoid close contact with other family members.
  • Radiation therapy – It is the usage of high energy proton beams to kill cancer cells
  • Chemotherapy – This involves thyroid cancer treatment with the help of varied chemicals and drugs
  • Injecting alcohol into cancers – This type of thyroid cancer treatment is used when the cancer cells aren’t accessible during surgery and a small shot of alcohol is given to cancer cells to kill them.

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Age 32, Chennai

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