Understanding Thyroid Problems
When your thyroid does not function properly, it can affect every aspect of your health. You can also experience weight issues, depression and a change in your energy levels. The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland that is located in the neck and is the master gland of metabolism.
Undiagnosed thyroid problems can dramatically increase your risk of obesity, heart disease, depression, anxiety, hair loss, sexual dysfunction, infertility and a host of other symptoms and health problems. It is vital that you visit your ENT so that your thyroid problems do not go undiagnosed. You do not need to have all of these symptoms in order to have a thyroid problem, but they are larger clues into a bigger health problem.
All About Thyroid Cancer
Thyroid cancer is the third most common tumor malignancy in children and occurs six times more often in females than males, sharing several characteristics with adult thyroid cancer patients. Surgery is often the preferred treatment for thyroid cancer and although the procedure is often uncomplicated, one of the risks of this surgery involves vocal cord paralysis. For this reason, it is important for your otolaryngologist to be consulted.
In children there are four types of thyroid cancer: papillary, follicular, medullary, and anaplastic. Papillary thyroid cancer occurs in cells that produce thyroid hormones containing iodine. This type is the most common form of thyroid cancer in children and grows very slowly. Follicular afflicts a slightly older age group and is less common in children. This type of thyroid cancer is more likely to spread to the neck via blood vessels causing the cancer to spread to other parts of the body, making the disease difficult to control.
Additionally, medullary is a rare form of thyroid cancer that develops in cells that produce calcitonin, a hormone that does not contain iodine. This cancer tends to spread to other parts of the body and constitutes about 5-10 percent of all thyroid malignancies. Lastly, anaplastic is the fastest growing of the thyroid cancers, with extremely abnormal cells that grow and spread rapidly, especially locally in the head and neck region. This form of cancer is usually found in older patients.
What are the Symptoms and Treatment?
Symptoms of thyroid cancer vary from person to person. Your child may have a lump in their neck, continuous swollen lymph nodes, a tight or full feeling in the neck, or trouble with breathing or swallowing and hoarseness. If any of these symptoms do occur, it is best to visit your child’s physician or ENT for proper diagnosis.
If the tumor is found to be malignant then surgery is used to remove as much of the tumor as possible. If necessary, your otolaryngologist may remove the entire thyroid. Surgery may be followed by radioactive iodine therapy, which destroys cancer cells that are left after surgery and help prevent the disease from returning. Thyroid hormone therapy may need to be administered throughout your child’s life when he/she has had surgery to remove the thyroid followed by radioactive iodine treatment to replace normal hormones and slow down the growth of cancer cells.
Want to learn more about thyroid problems and treatments from Russak Personalized Medicine in Greenwood Village, CO? Call our office at (303) 856-5989 for more information.