Thyroid Cancer Recurrence

Cancer » Thyroid Cancer » Thyroid Cancer Recurrence

If a person is survived from the harsh feeling of being a patient of thyroid cancer, obviously he or she will be more concerned about its recurrence. Thyroid cancer recurrence may occur after a successful initial treatment of it, even if the patient has been disease free for several years. As per research, around 35 percent of well-sorted thyroid cancer patients undergo recurrence in 40 years post initial therapy, and only two third among these cases take place within initial ten years after the treatment. In most cases, incidence of recurrence can be seen within the former few years after the primary thyroid cancer treatment.

If the recurrence of the thyroid cancer is diagnosed early, the prognosis is better, since in this case the tumor is localized and small in size. This shows that one should prefer a regular checkup after the getting treated for this disease previously. The recurrence of cancer may be localized (in the thyroid area) or metastatic (in other body organ).

Stage of the original thyroid cancer decides its recurrence. During the period of ten years after the diagnosis and treatment of the cancer, possibilities of recurrence can be as follows:

  • During stage I the possibilities of cancer recurrence is around 10 percent
  • During stage II, it could be nearly 20 percent
  • During stage III it could be almost 30 percent

This type of cancer develops gradually, and may return within ten to twenty years after the previous treatment. This may recur in the areas where it was metastasized in the previous case.

What If the Cancer Recurs At Local Area?

If the cancer recurs in the local area, the patient may be further treated with radioactive iodine (RAI) therapy or have to deal with a surgical process to take out the remaining tumor.

What if the Cancer Recurs Beyond the Original Location?

If the cancer recurs beyond the original location, it is considered as metastasized. When thyroid cancer spreads in other body parts (metastasizes), it starts appearing into the lymph nodes of nearby areas like chest, central nervous system or in the areas of the neck, lungs or bones.

Even though, the cancer has spread in different body parts, they are still called as thyroid cancer cells. Consequently, if detected in early stages and inveterate as a recurrence, even this type of cancer cells can be treated in the same way as the previous case was treated (with RAI- radioactive iodine therapy or surgery).

How to Treat Other Types of Thyroid Cancer?

If the follicular or papillary cancer re-emerges and absorbs iodine, as in other cancers, this condition can be treated by killing the cancer cells with huge dosages of radioactive iodine. If recurrence takes place but the cancer cells do not absorb the iodine, the patient may be treated with chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

In case of the medullary thyroid cancer recurrence, the patient may or may not respond to chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy, based on the area of where the cancer cells are growing or whether they are developed in the vital areas. For both categories of differentiated thyroid cancers and meduallry thyroid cancer, mostly surgery is preferred as the finest treatment option when the cancer cells recur in the neck area.

In order to know the chances of recurrence, the patient needs to carry out follow up visits regularly:

  • Once in six months post therapy
  • One in 12 months post therapy
  • Every year after the treatment

Significance of Early Detection of Recurrent Disease

Since the past few years, it's possible to diagnose thyroid cancer in early stages; this offers an opportunity to treat the cancer cells early before they start spreading into different organs and beyond the thyroid. This has readily shown a great improvement in the survival rates of the patients. Regular follow up visits is anyway a good method for early diagnosis. This also keeps the patient aware of being trapped into the same disease again, so that they can start up with the appropriate treatment to get rid of the cancer cells.

What is an Appropriate Therapy?

In most cases, appropriate treatment means removing all the tumors along with the thyroid gland with surgery. This is further followed by thyroid hormone therapy and radioactive iodine ablation. This has a great potential to reduce the mortality rates and the chances of thyroid cancer recurrence too.

It can be said that delay in the diagnosis of cancer in early stages, may delay in the detection of recurrent or persistent cancer and thus increases the mortality rates among the patients. As the delays extends, mortality rates increases. The tumor bulk affects the response of the patient to a particular treatment; all therapeutic modalities work best when the tumor bulk is less. The possibilities of decrease in the mortality rate lessen with the huge size of the tumor. For first few years after the initial treatment of thyroid cancer and the thyroid cancer recurrence treatment, the patient needs to be monitored more frequently.

Know the significance of regular medical checkup and avoid inviting any type of cancer.

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