Lawrence C. Wood, M.D., Founder and Medical Director of the Thyroid Foundation of America, answers what the treatment for thyroid cancer is?
Thyroid cancer usually presents itself as a lump or nodule in the thyroid gland. However, it should be emphasized that most thyroid nodules (95% or more) are benign. Unfortunately, it may be difficult to distinguish a benign from a malignant nodule on the basis of history and physical examination, even with the help of laboratory tests including blood hormone levels and scans (images) of the thyroid gland. Therefore, biopsy of thyroid nodules (generally Fine Needle Aspiration, FNA) provides the most valuable information in helping a physician to determine whether a surgical operation is necessary.
Occasionally, a thyroid cancer can present as a swollen lymph node in the neck, as hoarseness due to pressure from the tumor on the nerve to the voice box (recurrent laryngeal nerve), or as difficulty in swallowing or breathing due to a tumor obstructing the esophagus or windpipe. Rarely it presents as disease which has spread to another part of the body (metastatic disease).
MORE ON DR. WOOD
Dr. Lawrence Wood recently retired from practice as an Associate Physician at Massachusetts General Hospital with Internal Medicine Associates. He is particularly interested in thyroid and related conditions and in 1985 he created the Thyroid Foundation of America, a non-profit organization that offers free thyroid education and support to patients and their families. His publications include articles on the natural history of autoimmune thyroid disease and the association between thyroid autoimmunity, dyslexia, and attention deficient disorders. He is committed to patient centered care of the highest quality and feels fortunate to be involved in the creation of the Ambulatory Practice of the Future.
Visit Dr. Wood on the web at: www.allthyroid.org/