Over a decade, the incidence rate of thyroid cancer in Indian women increased from 2.4% to 3.9% and in men from 0.9 %to 1.3% a relative increase of 62% and 48% respectively. Thyroid cancer is the seventh most common cancer in women.
Dr. Shivam Shingla is a Consultant in Medical Oncology at S.L Raheja Hospital Fortis, Mumbai. For the past 8 years, he has been working in this field.
All you need to know about thyroid cancer
Dr. Shivam Shingla says, “One of the most common causes of thyroid cancer is lack of iodine in the diet. Since we have started consuming salt which is iodine-rich most thyroid cancers occur due to genetic predisposition.
The thyroid gland is present in the neck in all individuals and its main purpose is to produce thyroid hormones. Once these glands become abnormal, they will show up as a swelling.
The symptoms of thyroid cancer are as follows-
- Swelling or heaviness in the neck
- Pain on swallowing which moves along with the neck mass.”
Precautions to prevent thyroid cancer
Dr. Shivam Shingla informs, “The precautions to prevent thyroid cancer are as follows-
- Take iodine-rich salt in the food
- High intake of fruits and vegetables
- Good exercise
- Sound sleep.”
Treatment for thyroid cancer
Dr. Shivam Shingla states, “ The main aim of thyroid cancer treatment is CURE. When we see thyroid patients, our prime aim is to cure them. It is very easy to treat cancers today as most of them are detected at an early stage.
- The simplest treatment for thyroid cancer is thyroid surgery which involves the removal of the thyroid gland.
- Post-surgery patients do require radioactive iodine treatment
- Some patients may require radiotherapy
- There is no requirement for chemotherapy in thyroid cancer."
Detection of thyroid cancer
Dr. Shivam Shingla informs, “If you have neck swelling, the first thing is that you should reach out to a general physician. Thyroid cancer can be detected by the following-
- Ultrasound to check for benign, abnormal, or non-cancerous swelling
- Fine needle aspiration test."
The failure rates are very low. So, we can identify all patients who reach out for the treatment today.”
Worsening of thyroid cancer
Dr. Shivam Shingla says, “There are multiple ways to detect whether the patient is worse or better with thyroid cancer which is as follows-
Clinical examination for neck swelling
Symptoms of the patient like cough or swelling
Tumor markers like thyroglobulin to check blood concentration
Age-group of people suffering from thyroid cancer
Dr. Shivam Shingla informs, “Thyroid cancer has a bipolar range of presentation involving different age groups which include-
- Young women or men who present thyroid cancer at an early stage in their 30s or 40s
- The elderly age group of males and females who present with aggressive thyroid cancers
- Rare in children below the age of 18 years
- It is generally seen commonly in the age group of 20-40 years."
Is treatment for thyroid cancer affordable? Dr. Shivam Shingla states, “100%, The thyroid cancer treatment would cost around 80,000 to 1 lakh rupees and radioactive iodine also falls under the same range. Any middle-class individual can afford this treatment with help of insurance.”
Is thyroid cancer life-threatening? Dr. Shivam Shingla says, “Generally, most thyroid cancers are life-threatening. They are present in stage I and there are only two stages of thyroid cancer. Only one form of thyroid cancer is life-threatening called Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer and this form of cancer is very rare.”
How long can thyroid cancer last? Dr. Shivam Shingla informs, “The patients with thyroid cancer who are not curable can go on to live for 10-15 years. It is easily preventable and the best is to remove it in the first stage.”
Edited By: Dr.Rati Parwani
Contributed By: Dr. Shivam Shingla, Medical Oncologist, S.L Raheja Hospital Fortis, Mumbai