Getting To Know Follicular Thyroid Cancer
Follicular thyroid cancer
is the second-most frequently occurring thyroid cancer. This is a slow-growing cancer
that begins in the follicular cells.
Let’s define and look-at diagnosis and treatments that are available.
Definition Follicular Thyroid Cancer
Follicular thyroid cancer is the 2nd
most common type of thyroid cancer. However, it is not nearly as common
as papillary thyroid cancer, which is number one in occurrences. To get
an idea, about one out of ten thyroid cancers are follicular.
It occurs most in countries where people lack iodine in their daily
diet. This type of cancer isn’t usually subject to spreading
to lymph nodes, but it is capable of spreading to more distant sites,
such as bones or lungs.
Age is another defining factor in Follicular cancer prognosis. People
past 40 years of age experience a more aggressive form and the tumor
itself doesn’t take up iodine as efficiently as in younger people.
About 3% of thyroid cancers are Hurthle cell carcinoma, which is a
type of follicular carcinoma. It doesn’t carry a positive prognosis as
it is more difficult to find and harder to treat because it is unlikely
to absorb radioactive iodine.
Your primary care physician (PCP) may find lump(s) in your thyroid
during a routine examination. You could not have located the potential
cancer and would not have felt symptoms in its early stages. Most lumps
are benign, but your PCP may order blood tests if he suspects cancer.
If cancer is indicated, you will be offered treatment options.
Here is where you should thoroughly understand your options. The
conservative school of thought is to just remove the lobe of the thyroid
that conceals the tumor when the cancer is localized.
More aggressive treatment is provided by a total Thyroidectomy. If
the cancer has spread to other sites, external radiation therapy will be
warranted. High-energy beams should destroy remaining cancer cells.
There are three systemic treatments, which are delivered through the
bloodstream: radioactive iodine therapy, chemotherapy and thyroid
hormone therapy. These are designed to destroy or halt the progression
of cancer cells throughout the total body.
If your treatment included a thyroidectomy, you must take thyroid hormone replacement for life. If removal of the parathyroid glands was
necessary, you must take vitamin D and calcium supplements for life.
Never miss your regular follow-ups. In about 30% of all cases,
thyroid cancer will reoccur. If you have radioactive iodine therapy or
external beam radiation, other cancers are subject to develop.
Get your blood tested regular to check thyroglobulin, thyroid hormone and TSH levels.
The prognosis of follicular thyroid cancer
is a bit worse than for papillary thyroid cancer. Depending upon the
stage when cancer was diagnosed, on the whole, survival ranges from 43% –
But, the good news is if you do not have a reoccurance within 12-years of the original operation – the cancer is generally considered cured!