Thyroid cancer

What is thyroid cancer?
Thyroid cancer is cancer that develops in the thyroid, which is a gland in your neck that controls blood pressure, heart rate, body temperature, weight and other vital functions. Thyroid cancer is usually very treatable and has a low mortality rate.

What causes thyroid cancer?
No exact cause of thyroid cancer is known but there are several risk factors that can increase the risk of developing it:
• Exposure to radiation - people who have received radiation therapy for other types of cancers, especially in the head and neck area, might be more at risk.
• Having an altered RET gene – a change in a gene known as RET can be passed from parent to child. Nearly everyone with the altered RET gene will develop a type of thyroid cancer called medullary thyroid cancer. People can take a blood tests to determine whether they have an altered RET gene or not
• Not enough iodine in the diet – iodine is an essential nutrient for the thyroid. Lack of it is not usually a problem in developed countries as it is usually added to table salt
• Being female – middle-aged women are more likely to develop thyroid cancer than anyone else

Having one or more of these risk factors does not mean that a person will definitely get thyroid cancer, but may increase their chances of developing it.

What are the symptoms of thyroid cancer?
• A lump in the front of the neck
• Change in voice, such as hoarseness or difficulty speaking
• Pain in the neck
• Difficulty swallowing

How is thyroid cancer diagnosed?
At KHCC, physicians use a variety of diagnostic tests and procedures to accurately identify and stage thyroid cancer, such as:
• Blood tests to check for too high or too low levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH)
• Biopsy to take a tissue sample from the thyroid gland and examine it further under a microscope for any abnormalities
• Ultrasound
• Thyroid scan

How is thyroid cancer treated at KHCC?
The treating physician will present the case to the MDC panel who will determine the right treatment for the patient depending on how much the cancer has spread throughout the body.

Treatment for thyroid cancer patients almost always includes surgery as an initial course of treatment followed by radioactive iodine therapy. Some patients may need radiation therapy however that is a rare occurrence. Thyroid cancer patients do not usually receive chemotherapy.

Thyroid cancer treatment at KHCC is unique in combining the comprehensive care of a multidisciplinary team with the expertise of its nuclear medicine department in radioactive iodine therapy. In fact, the Iodine Room at KHCC is the only one in the country accredited by the Jordan Nuclear Commission.

At KHCC, thyroid cancer patients receive top quality care through a multidisciplinary team of specialists highly experienced in treating thyroid cancer

Supportive Care
The thyroid multidisciplinary clinic works in close cooperation with other departments at KHCC so that thyroid cancer patients receive the most comprehensive care possible. Supportive care services at KHCC include: