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The thyroid is a gland at the base of the throat near the trachea (windpipe). It is shaped like a butterfly, with a right lobe and a left lobe. The isthmus, a thin piece of tissue, connects the two lobes. A healthy thyroid is a little larger than a quarter. It usually cannot be felt through the skin.
Anatomy of the thyroid and parathyroid glands. The thyroid gland lies at the base of the throat near the trachea. It is shaped like a butterfly, with the right lobe and left lobe connected by a thin piece of tissue called the isthmus. The parathyroid glands are four pea-sized organs found in the neck near the thyroid. The thyroid and parathyroid glands make hormones.
The thyroid uses iodine, a mineral found in some foods and in iodized salt, to help make several hormones. Thyroid hormones do the following:
Anything that increases your risk of getting a disease is called a risk factor. Having a risk factor does not mean that you will get cancer; not having risk factors doesn’t mean that you will not get cancer. People who think they may be at risk should discuss this with their doctor. Risk factors for thyroid cancer include the following:
The genes in cells carry hereditary information from parent to child. A certain change in a gene that is passed from parent to child (inherited) may cause medullary thyroid cancer. A test has been developed that can find the changed gene before medullary thyroid cancer appears. The patient is tested first to see if he or she has the changed gene. If the patient has it, other family members may also be tested. Family members, including young children, who have the changed gene can decrease the chance of developing medullary thyroid cancer by having a thyroidectomy (surgery to remove the thyroid).
Thyroid cancer may not cause early symptoms. It is sometimes found during a routine physical exam. Symptoms may occur as the tumour gets bigger. Other conditions may cause the same symptoms. Check with your doctor if you have any of the following problems:
The following tests and procedures may be used:
The prognosis (chance of recovery) and treatment options depend on the following:
For more information on Thyroid Cancer click here
To get information from the Australian HealthDirect website, click here
This link is to the National Cancer Institute (NCI) cancer website in the United States. There may be references to drugs and clinical trials that are not available here in Australia.
Information has also been sourced from patient.info
For information courtesy of Cancer Australia, please click here
Page last updated: 05/05/2021