Thyroid Cancer - Medical Malpractice Lawyers
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Thyroid Cancer Overview
Thyroid cancer is cancer that arises in the butterfly shaped gland in the anterior neck. Cells mutate and form cells that keep on dividing without dying. These are what typifies cancer cells. The thyroid gland is responsible for making the hormones T3 and T4, which are responsible for controlling the metabolism of the cells of the body. Because thyroid cancer does not make thyroid hormone, there are often no symptoms of a thyroid cancer other than its size.
Thyroid cancer is a rare type of cancer. Even so, people who develop thyroid cancer do very well. They are caught at an early stage and are responsive to treatment. It has a tendency, however, to come back, even many years after the cancer has passed the first time. It is up to the doctor to do thyroid tests at every visit to make sure that thyroid cancer hasn’t grown between visits.
Doctors don’t know why people get thyroid cancer; like other cancers, however, it is believed to be caused by mutations in the DNA of certain cells that cause the cells to grow out of control, never dying. Some of these changes are believed to be hereditary as certain types of thyroid cancer are considered hereditary.
It’s known that people who are exposed to a lot of radiation over their lifetime have an increased risk of getting thyroid cancer. Past radiation you’ve had in modest amounts won’t do anything to increase your chances of coming down with thyroid cancer. If, on the other hand, you’ve had dental x-ray treatments during your lifetime, it involves treatment of the head, neck, or chest, and it can increase your risk of getting cancer of the thyroid, especially if you had these treatments during childhood.
There are several symptoms associated with getting or having thyroid cancer. These include:
- You may develop pain in the neck and sometimes in the ears.
- You may develop a lump in the anterior part of the neck. This is considered the most common symptom.
- You can have trouble breathing or an unexpected wheeze from the lump pushing on the trachea.
- You can have trouble swallowing.
- You may have a frequent cough that is not related to a cold.
- You may have a hoarse voice.
Some people have no symptoms of their cancer. The doctor may develop a nodule or lump in the neck during a physical examination. If you find a lump in your neck, the next step is an ultrasound to find out if the lump is solid or cystic. This is followed by a fine needle biopsy that can tell what kind of cancer it is. The biopsy may be successful or it can be equivocal so that an open biopsy or complete removal of the thyroid gland might be warranted.
The thyroid gland is often treated with excisional surgery followed by high doses of radioactive iodine. The radioactive iodine kills off those cells that take up iodine, namely thyroid derived cells. It rarely needs radiation therapy or chemotherapy. The type of treatment you need depends on a person’s age, the stage of the cancer, and the type of thyroid cancer you have. If the cancer is at a high stage, then radioactive treatment is definitely necessary because there will be cancer cells all over.
The doctor may remove the surrounding lymph nodes in order to get rid of as much cancer as possible. Most types of thyroid cancer cannot be prevented. There is one type of cancer that is very rare; it runs in families and is called medullary thyroid cancer or MTC. You can have a special genetic test to see if you are at risk for this type of thyroid cancer so you can have your thyroid removed before the cancer grows.
Medical Malpractice Lawyers
The medical profession which includes doctors, nurses and hospital technicians usually provides a caring service with a high standard of excellence however there are occasions when things do go wrong. Our litigation service is completely free and our medical malpractice lawyers will deal with your case using a contingency fee arrangement which means that if you don’t succeed in receiving a financial settlement then your thyroid cancer lawyer won't get paid.
LEGAL HELPLINE: ☎ 855 804 7125
The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here