Thyroid Cancer Diagnosis & Treatment | AMO Oncology Centre

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Thyroid cancer Treatment
Thyroid cancer

Thyroid cancer often occurs in people with normal thyroid function, therefore a detection of hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism would indicate that the cancerous tumor has grown big enough to affect thyroid function and cancer cells might have begun migrating to other body organs. Most patients with thyroid cancer can be diagnosed in the early stage, resulting in a high cure rate and low death rate. However, regular follow-up tests are required as thyroid cancer develops slowly.

Surgical excision
It directly removes the tumors by surgery under general anesthesia. If parathyroid glands are also removed altogether, after the surgery, patients may suffer from calcium and vitamin D deficiency, and even vocal cord lesions, thus affecting their ability to speak in future. Minimally invasive thyroid surgery is now available. Endoscopes and special instruments are used in removing the thyroid gland to avoid leaving scars on the neck. However, this therapy is only suitable for patients with benign tumors or with an extremely small tumor.
In internal radiotherapy, a dose of radioisotope iodine-131 (liquid or solid) is taken orally as medicine. As the thyroid can absorb iodine, the radioactive iodine is able to penetrate into the thyroid and kill cancer cells at close range, thereby reducing the possibility of recurrence. However, it is suggested that a female patient should avoid pregnancy within six months after receiving this therapy. In external radiotherapy, high-energy X-rays are used to irradiate the cancer cells to control the tumor. Currently, intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) is often adopted to aim at the tumor from multiple angles, effectively reducing the chance of local recurrence in lymphatic glands and the neck.
Traditional chemotherapy
For thyroid cancer that fails to respond to radioactive iodine treatment, chemotherapeutic drugs are used to destroy cancer cells, induce tumor atrophy, curb the deterioration of cancer, and inhibit the tumor's angiogenesis activity and excessive message transmission from the cells. This therapy is seldom adopted due to limited efficacy.
Targeted therapy
If there is no response to any of the above-mentioned therapies, doctors will consider targeted therapy. Specific targeted therapy drugs are used to kill cancer cells without destroying normal cells, which can significantly extend patients’ life expectancy to an average of 18 to 19 months. However, this therapy is costly and not common in Hong Kong.
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