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Cancers of the thyroid gland

They are common and most often develop on nodules of the thyroid gland. It is estimated that around 8,000 cancers are diagnosed each year in France. Women are affected much more often. The vast majority of these cancers are cured by modern therapeutic methods with a quality of life that is most often normal or very close to normal.
Surgery (partial or total thyroidectomy) is the essential treatment and often the only one necessary.
There may be a family predisposition and some cancers are “genetic”.
Exposure to radiation is a well-known risk factor for these cancers (Chernobyl accident). ; a history of external radiotherapy to the neck (for Hodgkin's disease for example) also increases the risk of thyroid cancer and therefore require regular monitoring.


Your support in 4 steps:

1 - At the beginning if the diagnosis is mentioned, you must consult a specialist ; he will carry out an assessment including a neck ultrasound, a blood test and often a thyroid puncture.

This assessment can conclude in the presence of cancer but most often it concludes in the presence of a suspicious nodule whose definitive diagnosis will only be made at the time of the intervention or sometimes even only on the definitive pathological analyzes of which the results are only available several days after the operation

2 - If the diagnosis of cancer is suspected on the initial assessment an operation will be necessary to carry out the removal of the tumor, part or all of the gland, and very often the lymph nodes located near the gland.

An analysis by a pathologist is often carried out during the intervention (extemporaneous biopsy or BE)  in order to adapt the surgical procedure: removal or not of the entire thyroid, carrying out lymph node dissection

3 - After the operation, all the elements of the disease are known and personalized treatment is decided at a meeting of the different specialists in this disease (multidisciplinary consultation meeting or RCP).

The recommendation made to the patient depends on the risks specific to their cancer. The different options are: monitoring, second intervention, administration of radioactive iodine.

Starting hormonal treatment with Thyroxine is usual; it is essential if a total removal of the gland has been carried out

4 - Long-term monitoring and care are essential for these cancers which have a slow progression which can be marked by local recurrences and more rarely by distant (lung, bone, brain) metastases. The majority of cancers are cured by initial treatment and monitoring carried out by ultrasound (semi-annual for the first 5 years) and blood test (dosage of thyroglobulinemia and anti-thyroglobulin antibodies) will confirm this.

The dosage of thyroid hormones in the blood (TSH, T4) is essential and makes it possible to adapt the hormone intake medicinal (L-thyroxine)

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