Anaplastic thyroid cancer, or ATC, in short, is a rare and antagonistic form of thyroid cancer. This form of thyroid cancer can lead to critical compression of the shapes in the neck, interfering with swallowing, breathing, and speaking. It can also spread (metastasize) fastly throughout the body.
What is anaplastic thyroid cancer? It is something you might be curious to know, right? We have got you covered, and here is the answer to your question. Anaplastic thyroid cancer often begins to show colors post the age of 60, not like other types of thyroid cancer. It is assumed that anaplastic thyroid cancer makes up less than 2% of every thyroid cancer in the United States per year.
Because thyroid cancer is comparatively common, it is most probable that you may know a person who had or has a type of thyroid cancer. Although, anaplastic thyroid cancer is a rare and uncommon kind of thyroid cancer. Most people and even specialist surgeons have had very little experience with this form of rare thyroid cancer. Even if you encounter anaplastic thyroid cancer symptoms, do not think that you have ATC because this no-tail assumption might lead you to make a few decisions that are not necessarily right or justified for you. Since people ask how does anaplastic thyroid cancer kill you, this might be one of the reasons.
This complete guide of anaplastic thyroid cancer will inform you about the symptoms, causes, preventions, and treatment methodologies. So, stay with us till the end.
What Are The Symptoms Of Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer
Before knowing the symptoms of anaplastic thyroid cancer, you must know where it all starts from the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is an endocrine gland (bow-tie-resembling-shape) that sits in the neck, right below Adam’s apple site. It administers the body’s energy levels and metabolism, where anaplastic thyroid cancer develops and eventually grows throughout the body. Is anaplastic thyroid cancer hereditary? Most people ask this question, and for them, there is one answer that it’s not clear yet, but yes, there is always a previous record of thyroid enlargement or previous thyroid cancer cells associated with anaplastic thyroid cancer illness.
The early-stage signs of anaplastic thyroid cancer are often concerned with compression of the structures and arrangements in the neck, which occurs due to the thyroid gland’s physical expansion.
The stage 1 signs & symptoms of anaplastic thyroid cancer are as follows:
- Anaplastic thyroid cancer symptoms include a lump in the neck that you can both feel and see from the naked eyes
- Hoarseness or a change in the voice
- A big mass on the thyroid gland
- Faster expansion of the thyroid gland
- Inflamed lymph nodes in the neck
- Coughing up blood
- Problem in swallowing
- Dry cough
- Trouble breathing
Anaplastic thyroid cancer develops and spreads rapidly and can easily infiltrate the windpipe (trachea), meddling with breathing. Anaplastic thyroid cancer is also one of the sole kinds of thyroid cancer that can quickly metastasize to different other sites of the body.
What Causes Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer (ATC)
However, the prime cause of developing anaplastic thyroid cancer is not yet known, but many risk factors have been recognized. These risk factors are mentioned below with a brief detail:
Previous Thyroid Enlargement Or Cancer
Several patients who have been diagnosed with anaplastic thyroid cancer were also found to have an enlarged thyroid or another kind of less injurious thyroid cancer before growing anaplastic thyroid cancer. However, it is not clear why these cancerous masses elevate the risk of growing anaplastic thyroid cancer.
Exposure To Radiation
A previous record of radiation exposure to the thyroid gland and surrounding areas is also one of the risk factors linked with anaplastic thyroid cancer.
Since researchers have identified several risk factors associated with anaplastic thyroid cancer, genetic mutations are one of them. The genetic disparities and abnormalities detected in anaplastic thyroid cancer are not hereditary and may form and evolve at some point during life. However, there is no clear-cut link between the genetic mutations detected in anaplastic thyroid cancer and disease cause, prognosis, or screening.
Treatment Methodologies Of Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer
Unluckily, the likely course of anaplastic thyroid cancer is very poor, with merely half of the people sustaining themselves hardly 6 months post-diagnosis. Even though the proper treatment of anaplastic thyroid cancer can prolong the survival duration, and, in rare cases, the disease can be cured completely.
Anaplastic thyroid cancer treatment aims to mitigate the compression led by the supportive regulations of symptoms, tumor, and chemotherapeutic & radiation treatment to regulate the metastasizing of anaplastic thyroid cancer in the neck and other areas in the body.
There are a variety of treatment approaches for anaplastic thyroid cancer, a few of them are as follows:
Surgery To Remove Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer Cells
Anaplastic thyroid cancer is generally treated with surgery to eliminate the cancer tumor from the thyroid gland and, if necessary, any nearby structures the cancer mass has affected. At times anaplastic thyroid cancer becomes associated with essential organs inside the neck and may, unluckily, be non-removable.
Supportive Care For Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer Symptoms
If anaplastic thyroid cancer infiltrates your trachea (windpipe). In that case, a tracheostomy (a surgical process done to insert a flexible tube that then functions as an airway) may be required to ease the breathing process.
Radiation & Chemotherapy
Radiation therapy is usually required to contract the cancer tumor in the neck and other parts of the body. On the contrary, chemotherapy often treats metastatic conditions or diseases even though residues of the anaplastic thyroid cancer tumor within the thyroid gland system are not usually reactive to chemotherapy.
Gene therapy is one of the latest treatment methodologies being examined for anaplastic thyroid cancer treatment. In this treatment approach, doctors use concentrated chemotherapy adjusted to treat the particular molecular disparity led by the genetic mutations accompanied by anaplastic thyroid cancer. This treatment technique is presently considered investigational.
Since there are not many effective treatments and approaches available for anaplastic thyroid cancer, you may also think of participating in a clinical trial, likely getting access to new treatment techniques that could be more helpful than those currently available.
Most people are concerned about the anaplastic thyroid cancer survival rate. Although it’s less than any other kind of cancer, there is always hope to hold on.
Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer Prevention Tips
As we all know, prevention is better than cure. You should be following these enlisted points after getting diagnosed with thyroid cancer or having the condition of thyroid enlargement:
- Regular physical screening test
- Imaging or X-ray
- Routine blood tests
- Full body check-up in every 6 months
- Consume healthy food
- Perform some simple exercises daily
Even after taking all the necessary precautions and encountering anaplastic thyroid cancer symptoms (ATC), it’s better to consult with an expert or healthcare professional. If you cannot find one, visit the official website of University Cancer Centers or walk in directly to our facility in Houston and get the full body check-up and better treatment for ATC. Plus, we have friendly cancer care staff to make patients feel at home since we believe in treating our patients as our family members.
We are looking forward to serving you. So, what are you waiting for? Reach out to us to book an appointment right away.