Stomach cancer is characterized by the growth of cancerous cells within the lining of the stomach. Also called gastric cancer, this type of cancer is difficult to diagnose because most people typically don’t show symptoms in the earlier stages.
What is stomach cancer?
The National Cancer Institute (NCI)Trusted Source estimates there’ll be approximately 28,000 new cases of stomach cancer in 2017. The NCI also estimates that stomach cancer is 1.7 percent of new cancer cases in the United States.
While stomach cancer is relatively rare compared to other types of cancer, one of the biggest dangers of this disease is the difficulty of diagnosing it. Since stomach cancer usually doesn’t cause any early symptoms, it often goes undiagnosed until after it spreads to other parts of the body. This makes it more difficult to treat.
Though stomach cancer can be hard to diagnose and treat, it’s important to get the knowledge you need to beat the disease.
Your stomach (along with the esophagus) is just one part of the upper section of your digestive tract. Your stomach is responsible for digesting food and then moving the nutrients along to the rest of your digestive organs, namely the small and large intestines.
Stomach cancer occurs when normally healthy cells within the upper digestive system become cancerous and grow out of control, forming a tumor. This process happens slowly. Stomach cancer tends to develop over many years.
Stomach cancer is directly linked to tumors in the stomach. However, there are some factors that might increase your risk of developing these cancerous cells. These risk factors include certain diseases and conditions, such as:
- lymphoma (a group of blood cancers)
- H. pylori bacterial infections (a common stomach infection that can sometimes lead to ulcers)
- tumors in other parts of the digestive system
- stomach polyps (abnormal growths of tissue that form on the lining of the stomach)
Stomach cancer is also more common among:
- older adults, usually people 50 years and older
- people with a family history of the disease
- people who are of Asian (especially Korean or Japanese), South American, or Belarusian descent
While your personal medical history can impact your risk of developing stomach cancer, certain lifestyle factors can also play a role. You may be more likely to get stomach cancer if you:
- eat a lot of salty or processed foods
- eat too much meat
- have a history of alcohol abuse
- don’t exercise
- don’t store or cook food properly
You may want to consider getting a screening test if you believe you’re at risk for developing stomach cancer. Screening tests are performed when people are at risk for certain diseases but don’t show symptoms yet.
According to the NCITrusted Source, there are typically no early signs or symptoms of stomach cancer. Unfortunately, this means that people often don’t know anything is wrong until the cancer has reached an advanced stage.
Some of the most common symptoms of advanced stomach cancer are:
- nausea and vomiting
- frequent heartburn
- loss of appetite, sometimes accompanied by sudden weight loss
- constant bloating
- early satiety (feeling full after eating only a small amount)
- bloody stools
- excessive fatigue
- stomach pain, which may be worse after meals
Since people with stomach cancer rarely show symptoms in the early stages, the disease is often not diagnosed until it’s more advanced.
To make a diagnosis, your doctor will first perform a physical exam to check for any abnormalities. They may also order a blood test, including a test for the presence of H. pylori bacteria.
More diagnostic tests will need to be done if your doctor believes that you show signs of stomach cancer. Diagnostic tests specifically look for suspected tumors and other abnormalities in the stomach and esophagus. These tests may include:
Traditionally, stomach cancer is treated with one or more of the following:
Your exact treatment plan will depend on the origin and stage of the cancer. Age and overall health can also play a role.
Aside from treating cancer cells in the stomach, the goal of treatment is to prevent the cells from spreading. Stomach cancer, when left untreated, may spread to the:
Stomach cancer alone can’t be prevented. However, you can lower your risk of developing all cancers by:
In some cases, doctors may even prescribe medications that can help lower the risk of stomach cancer. This is usually done for people who have other diseases that may contribute to the cancer.
You may also want to consider getting an early screening test. This test can be helpful in detecting stomach cancer. Your doctor may use one of the following screening tests to check for signs of stomach cancer:
- physical exam
- lab tests, such as blood and urine tests
- imaging procedures, such as X-rays and CT scans
- genetic tests
Your chances of recovery are better if the diagnosis is made in the early stages. According to the NCITrusted Source, around 30 percent of all people with stomach cancer survive at least five years after being diagnosed.
The majority of these survivors have a localized diagnosis. This means that the stomach was the original source of cancer. When the origin is unknown, it can be difficult to diagnose and stage the cancer. This makes the cancer harder to treat.
It’s also more difficult to treat stomach cancer once it reaches the later stages. If your cancer is more advanced, you may want to consider participating in a clinical trial.
Clinical trials help determine whether a new medical procedure, device, or other treatment is effective for treating certain diseases and conditions. You can see if there are any clinical trials of treatments for stomach cancer on the NCI websiteTrusted Source.
The website also has resources trusted Source to help you and your loved ones cope with a stomach cancer diagnosis and its subsequent treatment.
Source Credit: https://www.healthline.com/health/gastric-cancer#diagnosis
Vaccines that balance gut microbial communities may one day be used to improve gastrointestinal health
Bacteria’s role in gut health has received a lot of attention in recent years. But new research led by scientists at the University of Utah Health shows that fungi — another microorganism that lives within us — may be equally important in health and disease.
Fungi thrive in the healthy gut, but they can also cause intestinal damage that may contribute to inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), according to the study published in Nature on July 14. Experiments with mice show that normally, the immune system keeps fungi in check, targeting the microbe when it switches into a state that can cause harm. When the system is off-balance, the disease is more likely to occur.
“Fungi have been wholly understudied in part because they are vastly outnumbered by bacteria,” says June Round, Ph.D., professor of pathology at U of U Health and the study’s senior author. New tools and technologies are starting to make investigations like this one possible, she adds. “This work adds an important piece to the bigger picture.”
These insights open new avenues for developing therapeutics to improve gut health. The study shows proof of concept that one day, vaccines could be used to curb gastrointestinal disease by enhancing natural immune responses that encourage a healthy balance of fungi and other gut microbiota.
A quest for balance
Round became interested in this line of research after noting that a common medical test for diagnosing Crohn’s disease, a type of IBD, works by detecting antibodies against fungi. And yet, how antibodies affect fungi’s influence on the disease had yet to be explored.
To dig deeper, her team searched for the trigger of the immune response. Working with patient samples and carrying out tests with mice, they determined that the yeast Candida albicans — one of the main species of fungi that reside in the human gut — elicited the strongest immune response. Further investigation showed that antibodies zeroed in on elongated fungal cell types called hyphae, specifically binding to proteins called adhesins that help microbes stick to surfaces and become invasive.
With this target in hand, the researchers could more definitively probe the fungi’s role in gut health. They found that mice populated with the yeast in its normal, rounded state remained healthy. In contrast, mice populated with Candida in its invasive form caused intestinal damage that resembled IBD. The results show that normal antibody responses in the gut inhibit disease by recognizing the harmful, hyphal form of fungi.
IBD isn’t the only health condition associated with fungi. Another is vaginal yeast infections. The researchers determined that a vaccine being investigated as a remedy for yeast infection triggered an immune reaction against adhesin proteins that is similar to the reaction in Crohn’s patients. When inoculated with the vaccine, mice normally prone to an IBD-like condition were less likely to develop the disease.
The researchers are now investigating whether vaccines could help mitigate IBD in people — and whether the same approach can be applied more broadly to shape other microbial communities in the gut. “We aim to exploit interactions with commensal microbes and the host immune system to harness microbial products for therapies,” Round says.
In addition to implications for disease, the findings also suggest fungi may be important in the healthy gut. Typically, the immune system’s job is to clear infections by getting rid of invasive organisms. In this case, fungi benefit from their interaction with antibodies. The immune reaction prods fungi from their invasive state into their rounded, budding state, which improves their survival in the gut.
“The immune system is constraining Candida to its least pathogenic form,” says Kyla Ost, Ph.D., a postdoctoral researcher in Round’s lab and the study’s lead author. “This is showing us that the communication between host and microbe can be friendly, as opposed to antagonistic, in order to benefit both.”
Welcome to Pandemica. It’s a never-ending pandemic purgatory, where COVID-19 never goes away, but continues to mutate and cross borders. It’s the most deadly place on earth, where twice as many people die, the global economy loses an additional US$9.2 trillion, and life as we once knew it does not return for anyone. Sound familiar?
We’re all in Pandemica. To escape, we need to act now. Having safe and effective vaccines within a year of the first reported COVID-19 cases is a historic scientific achievement. But if the vaccine isn’t everywhere, this pandemic isn’t going anywhere.
What is “Pandemica?”
“Pandemica” is a new animated content series from ONE to raise awareness and explain the critical importance of getting vaccines to all countries as quickly as possible. It’s an animated world full of creatures and critters living in a COVID-19 purgatory — illustrating the realities for people in low-income countries as they wait to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Watch the episodes now to explore just why Pandemica is truly the worst.
With illustrations by artist Andrew Rae and voiceovers from our talent friends you may have seen in ONE’s previous work like ONE co-founder Bono, Penélope Cruz, Danai Gurira, David Oyelowo, and more, the series is a reminder of why we all need to support efforts to get vaccines to everyone, everywhere.
What’s it like living in Pandemica?
Pandemica may not be a real place — but for billions of people, it’s a reality. Right now, less than 1% of doses administered globally have gone to people in low-income countries while a handful of wealthy countries have enough vaccines to inoculate their entire populations and still have more than 1.3 billion doses left over.
This vaccine hoarding by high-income countries could result in more than 60% of the world’s population — or 4.68 billion people — live in countries that won’t see widespread vaccine coverage until 2022 or even later, allowing the virus to continue to mutate and thrive.
And don’t think you’re safe just because you live in a nation where you can get a vaccine. There are over 4,000 variants of COVID-19 and some are more transmissible than other strains. The longer we allow this virus to thrive anywhere, the more it can mutate, putting everyone at risk of living in Pandemica.
Pandemica also comes with a steep price tag, no matter where you live. Unequal vaccine distribution costs the world economy US$9.2 trillion. And if the lowest-income countries are initially excluded from the vaccine, high-income countries’ economies will bear 75% of the global economic loss.
How do we avoid Pandemica?
The pandemic will only end when the people who need the vaccine the most have access to it, regardless of where they live.
If rich countries continue to buy up the first available doses of the vaccines and prevent their distribution across the world, the pandemic will last much longer. This will allow the virus to thrive and mutate and continue to spread across borders and threaten us all. Instead, we need a global plan to distribute vaccines.
A handful of rich countries have bought up enough COVID-19 vaccine doses to vaccinate their entire populations almost three times over. Tell these governments to urgently share their surplus doses with countries in need.
Our Vaccine Access Test is a great resource to understand and watch how countries and world leaders are either moving us closer to or further from an equitable outcome for the pandemic. Find out how your country has scored.
Watch and share Pandemica.
It has been assumed for a long time that thyroid disorders lead to weight gain. However, it is obesity that leads to thyroid dysfunction. Relation between obesity and thyroid has been described in the present article
According to the World Health Organization, the number of individuals with obesity has doubled since 1980. Approximately 1.4 billion adults are overweight, and over 500 million of them are obese. Thyroid dysfunction is found in 33% of obese individuals.
Numerous theories have been proposed linking the association between obesity and thyroid disorders
1. One theory suggests an increased deiodinase activity in obese individuals leading to a high conversion rate of thyroid hormones (T4 to T3). This is a defense mechanism in obese subjects to counteract fat accumulation by increasing energy expenditure.
2. Another probable mechanism is the compensatory increase in the secretion of thyroid hormones to overcome decreased tissue response to circulating thyroid hormones in adipocytes of obese subjects.
3. Increased levels of Leptin found in obese subjects are another potential cause
Obesity doesn’t have any specific signs and symptoms. Associated problems observed in obese individuals include difficulty breathing, increased sweating, tiredness, and inability to manage physical activities. There is growing evidence on the relationship between hypothyroidism and weight gain. Hypothyroidism along with obesity causes a cold feeling.
An individual with obesity and thyroid gland dysfunction has an increased risk of thyroid cancer.
Body mass index (BMI) is frequently used to determine if an individual is overweight/obese. An adult with BMI around 25-29.9 is considered to be overweight, while a BMI of 30 or high is considered to be obese.
Other methods of fat estimation and its distribution include
- Skinfold thickness
- Waist circumference
- Analyzing the waist to hip ratios
Diagnosis of hypothyroidism is based on the clinical features and blood tests measuring the level of thyroid hormones. A low level of thyroxine and high levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone indicates hypothyroidism.
Treatment of Obese Patients with thyroid dysfunction
The adequate treatment of obese patients with hypothyroidism depends on the adequate administration of thyroid hormone. The thyroid hormone commonly employed in these individuals is levothyroxine. Obese individuals usually need a higher dose of levothyroxine. These individuals should concomitantly aim for weight loss by
- Limiting processed foods
- Exercising regularly
- Intake of high fiber foods
- Limiting goitrogenic foods (kale, mushroom, broccoli)
There are numerous factors that can lead to obesity. The major predisposing factors include excess dietary fat intake and a sedentary lifestyle. Additional factors that can predispose to obesity include chronic stress, menopause, and certain medications. Healthy eating, avoiding stress and increased physical activity can prevent obesity consequently the associated thyroid dysfunction
- Healthy eating (low fat, fiber dense foods)
- Avoiding stress (yoga)
- Physical activity (walking, cycling, swimming, jogging)
1. Sanyal D, Raychaudhuri M. Hypothyroidism and obesity: An intriguing link. Indian journal of endocrinology and metabolism. 2016 Jul;20(4):554.
2. Longhi S, Radetti G. Thyroid function and obesity. Journal of clinical research in pediatric endocrinology. 2013 Mar;5(Suppl 1):40.
Date: June 11, 2021
Source: Université catholique de Louvain
3D tumors that disintegrate within a few days thanks to the action of a well-known omega-3 (DHA, found mainly in fish) — this is a promising discovery. Hungry for fatty acids, tumor cells in acidosis gorge themselves on DHA but are unable to store it correctly and literally poison themselves. The result? They die.
So-called “good fatty acids” are essential for human health and much sought after by those who try to eat healthily. Among the Omega-3 fatty acids, DHA or docosahexaenoic acid is crucial to brain function, vision and the regulation of inflammatory phenomena.
In addition to these virtues, DHA is also associated with a reduction in the incidence of cancer. How it works is the subject of a major discovery by a multidisciplinary team of University of Louvain (UCLouvain) researchers, who have just elucidated the biochemical mechanism that allows DHA and other related fatty acids to slow the development of tumours. This is a major advance that has recently been published in the journal Cell Metabolism.
Key to the discovery: interdisciplinarity
In 2016, Olivier Feron’s UCLouvain team, which specialises in oncology, discovered that cells in an acidic microenvironment (acidosis) within tumours replace glucose with lipids as an energy source in order to multiply. In collaboration with UCLouvain’s Cyril Corbet, Prof. Feron demonstrated in 2020 that these same cells are the most aggressive and acquire the ability to leave the original tumour to generate metastases. Meanwhile, Yvan Larondelle, a professor in the UCLouvain Faculty of Bioengineering, whose team is developing improved dietary lipid sources, proposed to Prof. Feron that they combine their skills in a research project, led by PhD candidate Emeline Dierge, to evaluate the behaviour of tumour cells in the presence of different fatty acids.
Thanks to the support of the Fondation Louvain, the Belgian Cancer Foundation and the Télévie telethon, the team quickly identified that these acidotic tumour cells responded in diametrically opposite ways depending on the fatty acid they were absorbing. Within a few weeks, the results were both impressive and surprising. “We soon found that certain fatty acids stimulated the tumour cells while others killed them,” the researchers explained. DHA literally poisons them.
A fatal overload
The poison acts on tumour cells via a phenomenon called ferroptosis, a type of cell death linked to the peroxidation of certain fatty acids. The greater the amount of unsaturated fatty acids in the cell, the greater the risk of their oxidation. Normally, in the acidic compartment within tumours, cells store these fatty acids in lipid droplets, a kind of bundle in which fatty acids are protected from oxidation. But in the presence of a large amount of DHA, the tumour cell is overwhelmed and cannot store the DHA, which oxidises and leads to cell death. By using a lipid metabolism inhibitor that prevents the formation of lipid droplets, researchers were able to observe that this phenomenon is further amplified, which confirms the identified mechanism and opens the door to combined treatment possibilities.
For their study, UCLouvain researchers used a 3D tumour cell culture system, called spheroids. In the presence of DHA, spheroids first grow and then implode. The team also administered a DHA-enriched diet to mice with tumours. The result: tumour development was significantly slowed compared to that in mice on a conventional diet.
This UCLouvain study shows the value of DHA in fighting cancer. “For an adult,” the UCLouvain researchers stated, “it’s recommended to consume at least 250 mg of DHA per day. But studies show that our diet provides on average only 50 to 100 mg per day. This is well below the minimum recommended intake.”
- Emeline Dierge, Elena Debock, Céline Guilbaud, Cyril Corbet, Eric Mignolet, Louise Mignard, Estelle Bastien, Chantal Dessy, Yvan Larondelle, Olivier Feron. Peroxidation of n-3 and n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids in the acidic tumor environment leads to ferroptosis-mediated anticancer effects. Cell Metabolism, 2021; DOI: 10.1016/j.cmet.2021.05.016
A new paper in JNCI Cancer Spectrum, published by Oxford University Press, indicates that several non-genetic factors—including greater red meat intake, lower educational attainment, and heavier alcohol use—are associated with an increase in colorectal cancer in people under 50.
In the United States, incidence rates of early-onset colorectal cancer have nearly doubled between 1992 and 2013 (from 8.6 to 13.1 per 100,000), with most of this increase due to early-onset cancers of the rectum. Approximately 1 in 10 diagnoses of colorectal cancer in this country occur in people under 50.
Researchers have observed the rise particularly among people born since the 1960s in studies from the United States, Canada, Australia, and Japan. During the same period there have been major changes in diets among younger generations across the developing world. Such changes include decreases in consumption of fruits, non-potato vegetables, and calcium-rich dairy sources. This is coupled with an increase in processed foods (e.g., meats, pizza, macaroni and cheese, etc.) and soft drinks. Average nutrient intakes of fiber, folate, and calcium among the U.S. population are also lower than recommended.
The increase in early onset colorectal cancer is concerning to researchers because these cancers often have worse outcomes than those diagnosed in older people. It has led to recommendations that colorectal cancer screening begin at younger ages.
Previous research has outlined potential risk factors for early-onset colorectal cancer including greater consumption of processed meat, reduced consumption of vegetables and citrus fruit, greater body mass index, sedentary lifestyles, greater alcohol use, smoking, reduced aspirin use, and diabetes. However, researchers have yet to perform a comprehensive, large-scale evaluation that compares the magnitude of these risks with those for late-onset colorectal cancer and assesses whether the risks for early-onset colorectal cancer correlate with specific types of colorectal cancer.
Using data pooled from 13 population-based studies, researchers here studied 3,767 colorectal cancer cases and 4,049 controls in people under 50 and 23,437 colorectal cancer cases and 35,311 controls in people 50 or above years.
Early-onset colorectal cancer was associated with not regularly using aspirins, greater red meat intake, lower educational attainment, heavier alcohol use, and (interestingly enough) also alcohol abstinence. Researchers also found that lower total fiber intake was linked more strongly to rectal than colon cancer.
Several other colorectal cancer risk factors trended toward an association with early-onset colorectal cancer, including history of diabetes and lower folate, dietary fiber, and calcium intake. However, neither BMI nor smoking were risk factors in the early-onset group, in contrast to the late-onset group.
According to Richard Hayes, the senior investigator for this research: “this first large-scale study of non-genetic risk factors for early-onset colorectal cancer is providing the initial basis for targeted identification of those most at risk, which is imperative in mitigating the rising burden of this disease.”
Abdominal aortic aneurysm
An abdominal aortic aneurysm is an enlarged area in the lower part of the major vessel that supplies blood to the body (aorta). The aorta runs from your heart through the center of your chest and abdomen.
The aorta is the largest blood vessel in the body, so a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm can cause life-threatening bleeding.
Depending on the size of the aneurysm and how fast it’s growing, treatment varies from watchful waiting to emergency surgery.
Abdominal aortic aneurysms often grow slowly without symptoms, making them difficult to detect. Some aneurysms never rupture. Many start small and stay small; others expand over time, some quickly.
If you have an enlarging abdominal aortic aneurysm, you might notice:
- Deep, constant pain in your abdomen or on the side of your abdomen
- Back pain
- A pulse near your bellybutton
When to see a doctor
If you have pain, especially if pain is sudden and severe, seek immediate medical help.
Aneurysms can develop anywhere along the aorta, but most aortic aneurysms occur in the part of your aorta that’s in your abdomen. A number of factors can play a role in developing an aortic aneurysm, including:
- Hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis). Atherosclerosis occurs when fat and other substances build up on the lining of a blood vessel.
- High blood pressure. High blood pressure can damage and weaken the aorta’s walls.
- Blood vessel diseases. These are diseases that cause blood vessels to become inflamed.
- Infection in the aorta. Rarely, a bacterial or fungal infection might cause an abdominal aortic aneurysms.
- Trauma. For example, being in a car accident can cause an abdominal aortic aneurysms.
Abdominal aortic aneurysm risk factors include:
- Tobacco use. Smoking is the strongest risk factor. It can weaken the aortic walls, increasing the risk not only of developing an aortic aneurysm, but of rupture. The longer and more you smoke or chew tobacco, the greater the chances of developing an aortic aneurysm.
- Age. These aneurysms occur most often in people age 65 and older.
- Being male. Men develop abdominal aortic aneurysms much more often than women do.
- Being white. People who are white are at higher risk of abdominal aortic aneurysms.
- Family history. Having a family history of abdominal aortic aneurysms increases your risk of having the condition.
- Other aneurysms. Having an aneurysm in another large blood vessel, such as the artery behind the knee or the aorta in the chest, might increase your risk of an abdominal aortic aneurysm.
Tears in one or more of the layers of the wall of the aorta (aortic dissection) or a ruptured aneurysm are the main complications. A rupture can cause life-threatening internal bleeding. In general, the larger the aneurysm and the faster it grows, the greater the risk of rupture.
Signs and symptoms that your aortic aneurysm has ruptured can include:
- Sudden, intense and persistent abdominal or back pain, which can be described as a tearing sensation
- Low blood pressure
- Fast pulse
Aortic aneurysms also put you at risk of developing blood clots in the area. If a blood clot breaks loose from the inside wall of an aneurysm and blocks a blood vessel elsewhere in your body, it can cause pain or block the blood flow to the legs, toes, kidneys or abdominal organs.
To prevent an aortic aneurysm or keep an aortic aneurysm from worsening, do the following:
- Don’t use tobacco products. Quit smoking or chewing tobacco and avoid secondhand smoke.
- Eat a healthy diet. Focus on eating a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, poultry, fish and low-fat dairy products. Avoid saturated fat, trans fats and limit salt.
- Keep your blood pressure and cholesterol under control. If your doctor has prescribed medications, take them as instructed.
- Get regular exercise. Try to get at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity. If you haven’t been active, start slowly and build up. Talk to your doctor about what kinds of activities are right for you.
If you’re at risk of an aortic aneurysm, your doctor might recommend other measures, such as medications to lower your blood pressure and relieve stress on weakened arteries.
Source Credit: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/abdominal-aortic-aneurysm/symptoms-causes/syc-20350688
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Thyroid cancerOpen pop-up dialog box
Thyroid cancer occurs in the cells of the thyroid — a butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of your neck, just below your Adam’s apple. Your thyroid produces hormones that regulate your heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature and weight.
Thyroid cancer might not cause any symptoms at first. But as it grows, it can cause pain and swelling in your neck.
Several types of thyroid cancer exist. Some grow very slowly and others can be very aggressive. Most cases of thyroid cancer can be cured with treatment.
Thyroid cancer rates seem to be increasing. Some doctors think this is because new technology is allowing them to find small thyroid cancers that may not have been found in the past.
Thyroid glandOpen pop-up dialog box
Thyroid cancer typically doesn’t cause any signs or symptoms early in the disease. As thyroid cancer grows, it may cause:
- A lump (nodule) that can be felt through the skin on your neck
- Changes to your voice, including increasing hoarseness
- Difficulty swallowing
- Pain in your neck and throat
- Swollen lymph nodes in your neck
When to see a doctor
If you experience any signs or symptoms that worry you, make an appointment with your doctor.
It’s not clear what causes thyroid cancer.
Thyroid cancer occurs when cells in your thyroid undergo genetic changes (mutations). The mutations allow the cells to grow and multiply rapidly. The cells also lose the ability to die, as normal cells would. The accumulating abnormal thyroid cells form a tumor. The abnormal cells can invade nearby tissue and can spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body.
Types of thyroid cancer
Thyroid cancer is classified into types based on the kinds of cells found in the tumor. Your type is determined when a sample of tissue from your cancer is examined under a microscope. The type of thyroid cancer is considered in determining your treatment and prognosis.
Types of thyroid cancer include:
- Papillary thyroid cancer. The most common form of thyroid cancer, papillary thyroid cancer arises from follicular cells, which produce and store thyroid hormones. Papillary thyroid cancer can occur at any age, but most often it affects people ages 30 to 50. Doctors sometimes refer to papillary thyroid cancer and follicular thyroid cancer together as differentiated thyroid cancer.
- Follicular thyroid cancer. Follicular thyroid cancer also arises from the follicular cells of the thyroid. It usually affects people older than age 50. Hurthle cell cancer is a rare and potentially more aggressive type of follicular thyroid cancer.
- Anaplastic thyroid cancer. Anaplastic thyroid cancer is a rare type of thyroid cancer that begins in the follicular cells. It grows rapidly and is very difficult to treat. Anaplastic thyroid cancer typically occurs in adults age 60 and older.
- Medullary thyroid cancer. Medullary thyroid cancer begins in thyroid cells called C cells, which produce the hormone calcitonin. Elevated levels of calcitonin in the blood can indicate medullary thyroid cancer at a very early stage. Certain genetic syndromes increase the risk of medullary thyroid cancer, although this genetic link is uncommon.
- Other rare types. Other very rare types of cancer that start in the thyroid include thyroid lymphoma, which begins in the immune system cells of the thyroid, and thyroid sarcoma, which begins in the connective tissue cells of the thyroid.
Factors that may increase the risk of thyroid cancer include:
- Female sex. Thyroid cancer occurs more often in women than in men.
- Exposure to high levels of radiation. Radiation therapy treatments to the head and neck increase the risk of thyroid cancer.
- Certain inherited genetic syndromes. Genetic syndromes that increase the risk of thyroid cancer include familial medullary thyroid cancer, multiple endocrine neoplasia, Cowden’s syndrome and familial adenomatous polyposis.
Thyroid cancer that comes back
Despite treatment, thyroid cancer can return, even if you’ve had your thyroid removed. This could happen if microscopic cancer cells spread beyond the thyroid before it’s removed.
Thyroid cancer may recur in:
- Lymph nodes in the neck
- Small pieces of thyroid tissue left behind during surgery
- Other areas of the body, such as the lungs and bones
Thyroid cancer that recurs can be treated. Your doctor may recommend periodic blood tests or thyroid scans to check for signs of a thyroid cancer recurrence.
Doctors aren’t sure what causes most cases of thyroid cancer, so there’s no way to prevent thyroid cancer in people who have an average risk of the disease.
Prevention for people with a high risk
Adults and children with an inherited gene mutation that increases the risk of medullary thyroid cancer may consider thyroid surgery to prevent cancer (prophylactic thyroidectomy). Discuss your options with a genetic counselor who can explain your risk of thyroid cancer and your treatment options.
Prevention for people near nuclear power plants
A medication that blocks the effects of radiation on the thyroid is sometimes provided to people living near nuclear power plants. The medication (potassium iodide) could be used in the unlikely event of a nuclear reactor accident. If you live within 10 miles of a nuclear power plant and are concerned about safety precautions, contact your state or local emergency management department for more information.
Source Credit: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/thyroid-cancer/symptoms-causes/syc-20354161