The thyroid gland, which is located on the windpipe in the shape of a butterfly, secretes the thyroid hormone necessary for our life and releases it into the blood. There are 4 “Parathyroid glands” at the end of the wings of the butterfly, which are responsible for keeping the calcium in the blood at a certain level. Cancer occurring in the cells of the thyroid gland appears as “Thyroid cancer”. Thyroid gland disorder is seen in 3 out of every 10 people and thyroid cancer constitutes 1% of all cancers.
In particular, radiation and iodine deficiency are the most important risk factors. It is common in women and thyroid gland disorder also increases the risk. Diabetes, genetic diseases, white and Asian race constitute the risk group.
Generally, it does not give any symptoms and may rarely give symptoms such as swelling in the neck, hoarseness, difficulty in swallowing, difficulty in breathing and bone resorption.
The lumps in the thyroid gland are defined as “Thyroid Nodule”. It is detected by ultrasound. If these nodules synthesise hormones, they are defined as “hot nodules” and if they do not secrete, they are defined as “cold nodules”. Whether the nodule is hot or cold is determined by the imaging method called “scintigraphy”. Again, the characteristics of the nodule are checked on ultrasound. If it is a risky nodule according to these characteristics, a sample is taken by “fine needle biopsy” and examined by a pathologist and evaluated for cancer.
In patients with suspicious or cancer cells in the fine needle biopsy, neck lymph nodes are checked and surgery is planned. Depending on the type of cancer, removal of the thyroid as well as removal of the lymph nodes can be added to the surgery. During the operation, a device called “Thyroid Nerve Monitoring” is used to detect the nerves going to the vocal cords and the possibility of damage to these nerves is minimised. At the same time, the parathyroid gland located at the wing tips of the butterfly-shaped thyroid gland should be carefully protected during surgery.
After the surgery for thyroid cancer, special drugs containing radiation are given to the patients orally once, aiming to destroy the remaining thyroid tissue fragments with radiation. Patients are examined and prepared before the procedure. After taking the medication, the patient is kept in special lead-lined rooms for 2-3 days to prevent radiation from harming others. Radiation-loaded iodine destroys the remaining thyroid tissue. The patient is discharged when the radiation drops to certain doses.
Since the thyroid gland is removed, patients must be given thyroid hormone externally. This medicine should be taken in the morning on an empty stomach and used every day. Depending on the hormone status in blood tests, the patient is called for control between 1-3 months. On the day of the check-up, he/she should come without taking any medication. The dose of thyroid pill is adjusted according to the blood results.