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Treatment Options Have Inproved the Outcome of Thyroid Cancer Says Rush University Surgeon Dr Richard A. Prinz

CHICAGO- Rush University Medical Center surgeon Dr. Richard A. Prinz says currently available options for treatment of thyroid cancer once it is detected have improved outcome and offer a high likelihood of cure. However, early thyroid cancer may not cause any apparent symptoms.

As January is Thyroid Cancer Awareness month, Prinz points out one of the first signs of thyroid cancer is a painless lump in the neck. Another is swollen lymph nodes in the neck. Other symptoms may include hoarseness or loss of voice as the cancer presses on the nerves to the voice box and difficulty swallowing as the cancer presses on the throat.

Once diagnosed, surgical removal of the thyroid is the cornerstone of treatment for thyroid cancer. A total thyroidectomy removes all of the thyroid gland. In experienced hands, total thyroidectomy is preferred since it removes all tumor and improves the effectiveness of other therapies. Experienced surgeons can perform total thyroidectomies without increasing the risk of complications.

A lobectomy is the removal of the lobe with the cancerous nodule. If they are involved with the tumor, the nearby lymph nodes in the neck should be removed. Rush surgeons have been using sentinel node technology to detect early lymph node involvement from thyroid cancer so they can be removed at the initial operation.

Other treatment options include radioactive iodine therapy. Also called radioiodine therapy, this treatment is given in a capsule or liquid.

The radioactive iodine (I-131) will destroy any normal thyroid or thyroid cancer cells that have not been removed by surgery or have spread to other parts of the body. Not all patients with thyroid cancer will need radioiodine treatment.

Radioactive iodine therapy is usually not used to treat certain types of thyroid cancer.

Hormones may be given to kill cancer cells, slow the growth of cancer cells, or stop cancer cells from growing. Hormone therapy as a cancer treatment involves taking substances to interfere with the activity of hormones or to stop the production of hormones. Thyroid hormone therapy may be used to treat papillary and follicular thyroid cancer. This therapy may also be necessary after surgery or radioactive iodine therapy to replace the natural thyroid hormone. It is given to suppress thyroid stimulating hormone which can stimulate the growth of thyroid cancer.

Chemotherapy is the use of anticancer drugs to treat cancerous cells. Chemotherapy works by interfering with the cancer cell’s ability to grow or reproduce. Different groups of drugs work in different ways to fight cancer cells. Chemotherapy is rarely needed to treat thyroid cancer.

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Richard A. Prinz, please call 312.942.6511 Or Rush Physician Referral 888-352-RUSH.