Thyroid Tumours

Dr Chinnadorai Rajeswaran, consultant endocrinologist explains about thyroid tumours and its treatment. Please email him, if you need more information

Thyroid tumours is uncommon and most lumps in the thyroid gland are non-cancerous. Women are more commonly affected than men. The exact cause for thyroid cancer is not known however certain factors increase the risk of developing thyroid cancer, which include:

  • Goitre
  • Thyroid nodules (adenomas)
  • Inflammation of the thyroid (thyroiditis).
  • Previous radiotherapy to head and neck.
  • Family history of thyroid cancer especially medullary cancer.
  • Obesity
  • Low iodine levels.
  • Acromegaly.

Below are the six types of thyroid cancer:

  • Papillary: This is the most common type of thyroid cancer.This is more common in people with obesity.
  • Follicular: This is a less common type of thyroid cancer, usually found in older people.
  • Medullary: This grows from the C cells in the thyroid gland and is a rare type of thyroid cancer that runs in families.
  • Anaplastic: This is rare and occurs more in elderly and is known to grow rapidly
  • Thyroid lymphoma
  • Hurthle cell cancer

What are the symptoms of thyroid cancer?

Most common and the first sign is noticing a small painless lump in the neck. Thyroid cancer usually progresses slowly. Other symptoms include:

  • Hoarseness of voice.
  • Pain in the neck or throat.
  • Enlarged lymph glands in the neck.
  • Difficulty swallowing.
  • Difficulty breathing

How is thyroid cancer diagnosed

Single thyroid nodules are most likely to be malignant, especially in people who are less than 30 years and older than 60 years of age. Ultrasound scan of the thyroid is the first investigation followed by biopsy if the scan shows suspicious areas in the thyroid gland. Biopsy is done using a fine needle also called FNAC (Fine needle Aspiration Cytology).

What are the treatment options for thyroid cancer?

Most types of thyroid cancer can usually be treated successfully by an oncologist. Treatment depends on the type of cancer. Treatment options include one or a combination of:

  • Surgery
  • Radioactive iodine
  • Radiotherapy

You will need regular check-ups, blood tests like thyroid function test, thyroglobulin and occasionally, scans. You should have a regular follow up by an oncologist and a thyroid specialist.

Those who are on chemotherapy or on multikinase inhibitors for thyroid cancer are at an increased risk for severe COVID-19 infection.

Dr Chinnadorai Rajeswaran is a consultant Physician specialising in Endocrinology, Diabetes and Obesity. As a private endocrinologist he  has private endocrine, diabetes and weight loss clinics in Harley Street, London, Chennai (India), Claremont Hospital, Sheffield, Nuffield Hospital, Leeds and Simplyweight, Bradford.

He has face to face consultations with people from Barnsley, Rotherham, Chesterfield, Doncaster, Wakefield, Huddersfield, Bradford, Harrogate, Leeds, Sheffield, London and Chennai (India). He also offers video consultations.


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