Thyroid Cancer Treatment – Know the Details
Thyroid cancer is a disease associated with the development of malignant cells in the thyroid glands. Its primary cause remains unknown. Some researchers have indicated that thyroid cancer may occur as a result of overexposure to radiations. Age and gender are reported to play a part in contributing to increased likelihood of developing thyroid cancer. There are generally four distinct types of Thyroid cancer consists the anaplastic, follicular, medullary, and papillary type.
Causes of Thyroid Cancer
Till date, the exact cause(s) of thyroid cancer remains unknown. However, certain risk factors have been associated with the disease.
- Age: cancer of the thyroid gland is seen commonly after the 4th decade of life. The risk increases with age
- Gender: its incidence is higher in females than in males.
- Family history: members of the same family stands a higher chance of developing the cancer
- Genetic mutations and exposure of the neck to ionizing radiation
- Diet deficient in iodine triples the risk of developing thyroid cancer
- Exposure to radioactive iodine: young adults and children who were given radioactive iodine for thyrotoxicosis (excessive production of thyroid hormone) may also develop thyroid cancer.
Medical Treatment of Thyroid Cancer
Successful treatment of thyroid cancer involves combination of different treatment modalities. The most common treatment options include surgery, radioactive iodine, hormonal treatment, targeted therapy and chemotherapy.
- Surgery- this entails the removal of the tumor and the thyroid tissue surrounding it. Different surgical procedures have been described. Lobectomy (removal of the cancer with the affected lobe), Subtotal thyroidectomy (only a small portion of the thyroid tissue is left) and Total thyroidectomy (this involves getting rid of the entire thyroid gland).
- External beam radiation therapy-This is a radiation therapy in which high-energy x-rays are used to destroy cancerous cells. This treatment is focused only on the site being affected by cancer cells. Radiation therapy is administered in circumstances where radioactive iodine therapy has failed to be effective on the thyroid cancer.
- Chemotherapy-This treatment destroys cancerous cells using drugs. Combination of various drugs is usually given to the patient at the same time. The aim of chemotherapy may be to reduce symptoms, reduce tumor’s growth or destroy the remaining cancer after surgery.
Alternative Treatment of Thyroid Cancer
Alternative therapies for thyroid cancer mainly focus on strengthening and rebuilding the weakened immune system of the patient. They help the body to fight the disease effectively. They include ancient medicines, therapeutic disciplines, and herbal supplements.
- Ancient medicines-Ancient medicines include homeopathy, naturopathy, Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medications.
- Therapeutic disciplines-Therapeutic disciplines are often considered the best option for alternative therapies used for the treatment of thyroid cancer. Examples of these remedies include yoga, massages, meditation, acupuncture and aromatherapy. Such techniques ease the pain, improve circulation of blood and also relax the mind.
- Herbal supplements-Herbal supplements are aimed at improving the immune system. They contain antioxidants that assist the body in the fight against cancer cells.
Home Remedies of Thyroid Cancer
Home remedies for thyroid cancer includes:
- Yoga reduces stress and anxiety, improve blood flow to the thyroid gland and improve general health of the patient
- Fruits salad and pure fruit juice-provides the body with vitamins and minerals needed to target cancerous cells.
- Soups and broth improves symptoms like difficulty in swallowing and hoarse voice
- Herbs like flaxseed, lemon balm, black walnut and licorice maintains balance between cancer cells and normal thyroid cells. These herbs inhibit the proliferative and growth of cancer cells found in the thyroid gland.
Dietary solution of Thyroid Cancer
It is paramount that all thyroid cancer patients are placed on a diet plan. A healthy cancer diet plan help destroy the cancer cells, improves the immune system, supplies the body with adequate macro and micronutrients needed for optimal functioning of the thyroid gland.
Fruits and vegetables rich in flavonoids, carotene and other antioxidants must be incorporated. They provide the body with vitamins and minerals. Examples are blue berries, straw berries, cherries, tomatoes, carrots, ginger, salmons (great source of omega-3 fatty acid), lean meat and nuts.
It is important to note that intake of food rich in iodine and ionized salt should be reduced. A healthy diet for thyroid cancer patient is a low iodine diet.
Vitamins and minerals for Thyroid Cancer
Vitamins and minerals are essential for our health, normal growth and repair of tissues. Every cell in the human body requires vitamins and minerals. In addition, minerals are needed to activate enzymes (mainly amino acids and proteins) which are essential in thyroid tissue repair and in fighting against cancer cells.
Essential vitamins are vitamin A, B, C, D, E and K. These vitamins neutralize reactive radicals, counteract stress, strengthen the immune system and improve blood supply to the thyroid gland.
Calcium is needed to boost the immune system, bone growth and development (cells from thyroid cancer affects bones) and relieves stress.
Iron, Magnesium, Zinc and Selenium improves thyroid health, reduces free oxygen radicals, and are essential in the rejuvenation of damage thyroid cells. Studies have shown that these micronutrients can halt the proliferation of cancer cells.
- MedlinePlus.gov – Thyroid cancer – papillary carcinoma
- American Cancer Society – Do we know what causes thyroid cancer?
- National Cancer Institute – Thyroid Cancer Treatment
- NHS UK – Treating thyroid cancer
- AP John Cancer Protocol – Natural Cancer Treatment for Thyroid Cancer Facts
- Thyroid Cancer Survivor Association – Low Iodine Diet
- PubMed.gov – Diet and the risk of papillary and follicular thyroid carcinoma: a population-based case-control study in Sweden and Norway
- PubMed.gov – Vitamin and mineral supplements and thyroid cancer: a systematic review