Thyroid Cancer



There is still no apparent reason as to why most people get thyroid cancer. But there are factors that significantly increase your odds of having one. When cells in your thyroid undergo genetic changes or mutations that increases your risk. The mutations allow the cells to grow and multiply rapidly that sometimes produce unwanted versions of itself. The abnormality of these cells make them lose the ability to die as it normally would. The accumulating abnormal thyroid cells consequently form a tumor. The abnormal cells then invade nearby tissue and can spread throughout the body. This happens more often in women than in men.


If you have been diagnosed with these symptoms, you probably didn’t notice any signs of it in the early stages as it is difficult to pinpoint at first. This is due to the fact that there are very few symptoms in the beginning.
But as the cells grow, you would begin to notice some of the following problems:

  • Neck, throat pain
  • Coughing
  • Lump in your neck
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Vocal changes such as hoarseness


The type of cancer will directly determine which treatment and prognosis you will undergo for the best results.

The types of thyroid cancer are as follows:

  • Papillary thyroid is the most common form of cancer which occurs most often between people of ages 30 to 50 but can happen at any age. Papillary thyroid are produced from follicular cells that create and store thyroid hormones.
  • Follicular thyroid also originates from the follicular cells of the thyroid, as the name suggest. But it usually affects people older than age 50. The Hurthle cell cancer is an unusual and potentially more destructive type of cancer.
  • Medullary thyroid begins in thyroid cells called C cells, these are cells that produce the hormone calcitonin. Elevated levels of calcitonin in the blood can signify medullary cancer at a very early stage. Even if uncommon, certain genetic syndromes can increase the risk of this type of cancer.
  • Anaplastic thyroid is a rare and rapidly growing cancer which is problematic to deal with during treatment. Anaplastic types typically occurs in older adults age 60 and above.
  • Thyroid lymphoma is a rare type of thyroid cancer that starts within the immune system cells in the thyroid and grows rapidly. Thyroid lymphoma typically also occurs in older adults.

Risk Factors

There are factors that may increase the risk of developing cancer such as radiation exposure, some factors include:

  • Certain inherited genetic syndromes from a type familial medullary thyroid and multiple endocrine neoplasia that increase the risk of cancer.
  • Inherited genetic syndromes. In some conditions, including cancer, come from the DNA you acquire from your parents. In 2 out of 10 cases of medullary thyroid type of cancer, the abnormality is an unfortunate result of genes you have inherited.
  • If you don’t receive certain levels of iodine in your diet, you could be at more risk for certain types of cancer due to iodine deficiency.

Dr. Kanwar Kelley is located at Orinda California and if you are suffering from thyroid cancer, don’t hesitate to make an appointment (925) 254-6710. He is an experienced physician in many illnesses who can guide your health in the right direction.

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