Complete Thyroid Cancer Care

Providing Treatment to Individuals in Provo, Utah County, & Salt Lake County

Although very rare, thyroid cancer occurs when there is abnormal cell growth in the thyroid gland. Even though the exact causes of thyroid cancer are unknown, people who have been exposed to radiation are at risk of getting thyroid cancer.

Like most cancers, thyroid cancer is a result of changes in the DNA of cells, which are changes that may be inherited or are a direct result of aging. People who are over the age of 40 and / or have a family history of thyroid cancer are also at risk of getting this rare form of cancer.

Common Symptoms of Thyroid Cancer

While sometimes people with thyroid cancer experience no symptoms, the most common symptom of thyroid cancer is a nodule or swelling in the neck. Although the size of the nodule or mass is no indication of cancerous growth, cancerous tumors are more likely to be found in rapidly growing masses.

Other symptoms that may indicate the development of thyroid cancer include:

  • Trouble swallowing
  • Trouble breathing, constant wheezing
  • Hoarse voice
  • Pain in the neck and ears
  • Frequent cough unrelated to the common cold

If diagnosed and treated early, patients can do very well. If you suspect that you might have thyroid cancer, time is of the essence. Your chances of successful treatment are greatly amplified when you have a team of dedicated and experienced thyroid specialists at your side. We can provide you with early and proper treatment after being diagnosed through a biopsy or other diagnosis methods.

Diagnosed with Thyroid Cancer? You Need an Ultrasound Before Your Surgery

More than 20% of patients after thyroid surgery can have a recurrence. Most of these are in the neck (cervical) lymph nodes. These occur despite radioiodine ablative therapy.

Surgery, not Radiation is the best therapy for neck nodes. The US is needed to map the entire neck. This mapping will alter the surgery in more than 30% of the patients, as it may find abnormal nodes in a different area or on the opposite side of the neck prior to the surgery, thus helping the surgeon change the extent of the surgery, having this knowledge before the operation is extremely important.

Told to Have Surgery for a Suspicious Thyroid Nodule Biopsy?

A new approved Molecular Marker test is now available to determine if a suspicious nodule by FNA cytology headed for surgery is benign. The test looks at genes that are expressed in benign nodules. This will prevent tens of thousands of unnecessary surgeries. The test is effective in finding and saving patients from surgery. They would not have surgery, but be followed in a similar way as an outright benign nodule on FNA cytology.This Genetic Test is available at the Thyroid Institute.

Non-Surgical Treatment of Thyroid Cancer

Thyroid cancer remains one of the most treatable forms of cancer known to man. Survival rates for thyroid cancer are excellent; however, even with small cancers, recurrences do happen. In most cases, the cancer returns in the form of a lymph node in the neck. These lymph nodes can be detected by an expert endocrinologist who performs these types of ultrasounds regularly.

The next question is, what is the best way to deal with this type of recurrence?

  1. Large multiple lymph nodes that are enlarging do need to be surgically removed, which does bring in an increased risk of complications since the area already has scar tissue.
  2. Small cancerous lymph nodes which are stable in size can be treated by injecting alcohol (ethanol) via a thin needle under ultrasound guidance in the office. This method has a low risk of complications and does indeed treat the cancerous lymph node by shrinking it down. This method of non-surgical treatment is offered at the thyroid institute of Utah.

Does Anyone in Your Family have Thyroid Cancer?

Thyroid cancers have a genetic origin, this changes how we approach relatives of people who have had thyroid cancer. It is recommended that close relatives be screened for thyroid cancer with a Endocrine neck ultrasound, performed by a Thyroidologist. If any lesions are noted these can then be easily biopsied in the office in a matter of minutes.

What tests do you need for evaluating your thyroid hormone levels?

The internet is full of theories about how most doctors don't check the "full panel" of thyroid tests necessary to detect thyroid disease. That sometimes can be true however the majority of patients can be easily diagnosed with a TSH assay and a Free T4 assay performed at a reputable lab, performing other tests like Free T3 and Reverse T3 is rarely necessary and don't really add much to the treatment plan in most cases.

Do I Need Radiation Treatment for My Thyroid Cancer?

Most Thyroid experts use radioactive iodine very sparingly these days, the reason for this is the realization through recent research that for most cancers Radioactive iodine treatment doesn't add much to decrease risk of recurrence of diease. This is especially true for cancers less than 1 CM in size. Patients need to be aware that radioiodine ablation has no place in the treatment of the vast majority who have a papillary micro-carcinoma (a cancer less than 1 cm in size). For cancer between 2-4 cm most experts are individualizing the decision to give radiation, some favoring a "delayed approach", that is evaluating the patient with lab tests and a neck ultrasound 6 months after surgery to decide if radiation should be given.

When To See a Thyroid Specialist

  • If you have a family history of thyroid cancer
  • If you have a thyroid mass/lump, its time to stop right there and get a referral to a thyroid specialist, all ultrasounds and biopsies should be done at the thyroid experts office
  • If you get a diagnosis of thyroid cancer
  • If you are recommended thyroid surgery
  • If you have thyroid disease and you are pregnant

Contact us Today and Schedule an Appointment

With our comprehensive approach and full-service thyroid care services, you can rest assured that you will receive the best of care. Our team of thyroid experts can provide you with reliable treatment after being diagnosed with thyroid cancer.

Being diagnosed with cancer can be a frightening and stressful experience for you and your loved ones. We are here to provide you with the answers, treatment, and support you need. You don't have to battle thyroid cancer alone.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment so you can begin proper thyroid cancer treatment as soon as possible under the dedicated care of the specialists at the Thyroid Institute of Utah.