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Thyroid Cancer Prognosis

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The moment one gets diagnosed with thyroid cancer, the most significant thing about which they are concerned is what future they hold with this disease. Although it is curable, still the feeling of being a cancer patient makes a lot difference. Since it is one of the fatal diseases, it makes people automatically think that the person is going to die soon; and there is no lack of reasons on why most of the people think in this manner. One of the major reasons for this could be the way media portrays it on television. Thyroid cancer prognosis relates to the medical opinion that indicates the duration of patient's survival after diagnosis.

Factors Influencing Prognosis

In other words, we can say that prognosis is the outcome of a disease which reveals the chance and duration of survival of the patient. There are several elements that affect the thyroid cancer prognosis of a person. Few of them include:

  • Location of the tumor
  • Type of thyroid cancer
  • Grade of the tumor (how abnormal it appears, how quickly it is likely to develop and spread)
  • Stage of cancer (the extent at which the cancer cells have metastasized)
  • General health, age and the selected treatment option

It is observed that in most cases, prognosis of a person below 40 years is better, in case if the cancer cells have not spread at distant areas. While considering the prognosis, doctors will carefully examine each and every factor that may influence a person's treatment. By this, they try to predict the survival rate of the patient. Doctor may use the studies shared by the researchers after their research over many years about thousands of patients with thyroid cancer. When required, the doctor may also use the statistics based on the group of people with same medical condition.

Thyroid Cancer Types and Prognosis

Most types of thyroid cancers such as the follicular and papillary are usually curable. In younger people, who are undergoing any of these thyroid cancers, the cure rate is around 97 percent if appropriate treatment is given at the right time. Both these cancers can be typically treated by taking away all the lobes of the thyroid that ports the cancer. If required, the lobes on the either sides are removed. In all it can be said that most people with thyroid cancer are detected with papillary thyroid cancer and it is one of the quickest curable cancers among all cancers if treated well.

Anaplastic cancer is less common type of thyroid cancer which has a worse prognosis. This type of cancer is diagnosed after a long duration when the cancer cells have spread in most of the areas. Since, in most cases it is detected at a later stage, it is incurable. It is rarely seen that a patient with anaplastic thyroid cancer has survived for long period, as the operation usually do not help to remove all the cancer cells. It is one of the aggressive cancers and hence needs an aggressive therapy. In most cases tracheostomy is used during the treatment.

Medullar cancer is significantly a rare form of thyroid cancer which has poor prognosis. This type of cancer tends to develop into large number of lymph nodes very quickly and hence require an aggressive operation as compared to the other types of localized thyroid cancer such as follicular and papillary. This type of cancer requires entire removal of tumors in addition to the dissection of lymph nodes from all side of the neck.

Thyroid Cancer Stages and Prognosis

Several staging systems have been evolved with an aim to predict the thyroid cancer prognosis with assorted thyroid cancer. These methods consider various characteristics of the patient as well as the tumor. Unlike other cancer types, the assorted thyroid cancer prognosis greatly depends on the age of the person during the diagnosis. The undifferentiated types of thyroid cancers (anaplastic and medullary cancers), are very tricky to quantify and hence consistent methods of staging are not available.

It is a fact that age factor plays a key role in the verifying prognosis for assorted thyroid cancer. Possibilities of young people (below 40 years) to die are rare in regardless to the certain conditions such as tumor is not removed completely, lymph nodes were involved, the tumor spreads beyond the thyroid, or the cancer cells spreads into veins or out of the tissues that encapsulates it.

One significant fact to understand is that once the tumors are entirely removed, it makes no difference in the survival rate if a part of the thyroid gland or the complete thyroid gland is taken away. Furthermore, in case of papillary cancer, few staging methods are involved; this depends on the metastases (spread) of the cancer to the adjoining lymph nodes as positive neck lymph nodes (cancerous lymph nodes) do not reduce the survival rate at all. This concept is a little difficult to understand for several patients, since in most cancers, (such as colon, cervical, breast, lung, liver) positive lymph nodes has very poor prognosis.

Considering all the specifics, it can be said that most of the thyroid cancer prognosis has a very assenting set of statistics allied with it. To cure the cancer completely, plan for a thyroid cancer treatment, make some changes in your lifestyle and prefer the suitable treatment.

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