Anaplastic thyroid cancer is a type of thyroid cancer that is rare and aggressive. It affects the thyroid gland and most especially its function. The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped gland located on the front of the neck just below the Adam’s apple area. Its function is to regulate metabolism and cellular use of energy. Out of all thyroid cancers reported, anaplastic thyroid cancer only makes up a small percentage ranging from 1 to 5%.
Anaplastic thyroid cancer is diagnosed due to a large lump found in the gland. The lump grows rapidly and may eventually infiltrate the trachea making it difficult for one to breathe. Anaplastic thyroid cancer is also known to be a type of thyroid cancer that can quickly metastasize or spread to other parts of the body. Anaplastic thyroid cancer is most common in men over the age of 65 than in women.
Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer Symptoms
Anaplastic thyroid cancer symptoms include a mass in the neck or thyroid area that often gets enlarged rapidly, coughing, difficulty in swallowing, coughing up blood, hoarseness or change in the voice, and some difficulty in breathing. Anaplastic thyroid cancer is usually treated with surgery to remove the lump or tumor. There are also times that the anaplastic tumor may become attached to the vital structures within the neck or may infiltrate in the trachea, making it impossible to be removed.
Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer Prognosis
When an anaplastic tumor has already infiltrated the trachea or windpipe, a surgery may be needed to insert a tube into the throat to ease breathing. This surgery is called tracheotomy. In some cases, chemotherapy is needed for metastatic disease. However, anaplastic tumors are not responsive to chemotherapy. The prognosis for anaplastic thyroid cancer is poor.
Interesting Questions about Thyroid:
- means too much thyroid hormone
- affects 2.5 million people in the United States
- affects 2% of all women in the United States
- affects women 5 to 10 times more than men
- can cause infertility and miscarriage
- is the leading cause of hyperthyroidism
- is an autoimmune disease*
- means too little thyroid hormone
- affects 5 million Americans
- affects women 10 times more than men
- affects 1 out of every 4,000 infants born
- can cause infertility and miscarriage
- is the leading cause of hypothyroidism
- affects 1 out of 5 women over the age of 75
- is an autoimmune disease*
- is associated with a higher rate of miscarriage
- occurs in 5% – 9% of women after giving birth
- is usually temporary but can recur with future pregnancies
- affect 4% – 7% of the population
- are benign 90% of the time
- are less likely to be cancerous in women
*Autoimmune diseases run in families and are 5 times more common in women than men.
Between one and two million Americans received radiation treatments in childhood or adolescence between 1920 and 1960. The most common reasons for these treatments were:
- enlarged thymus gland
- enlarged tonsils and adenoids
- various chest conditions
The risk factor for developing thyroid cancer if you had childhood radiation treatments is between 2% and 7% as compared to .004% in the general population.
There have been cases of side effects from radiation treatments (not radioactive iodine treatments) reported as long as 45 years after treatment.
Most physicians agree that the thyroid gland of these patients should be checked annually.
Some physicians rely solely on physical (manual) examination of patients treated as children with radiation. Others prefer to perform scans or ultrasounds for nodules too small to detect manually that might be cancerous.
A person treated as a child with radiation can request that their medical records be sent to them by writing the hospital or clinic where they had the treatments. Ask for a record of how much each dose of radiation was as well as how often and over what period of time treatments were given.
One of the more psychologically unpleasant and frustrating side effects that can occur with either hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism is hair loss. There is no way to predict which patients will experience hair loss and which will not. Similarly, there is no way to predict who will be severely affected and who will have only minimal hair loss.
Because each person is unique, responses to thyroid disease and treatment will vary. This can be disturbing to patients who have lost a great deal of hair and want to know exactly when this will stop and when their hair will be normal again.
Here are a few facts to remember if you experience hair loss because of hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism:
- Hair loss from thyroid disease is usually reversible with proper treatment of the thyroid condition.
- Typically hair loss does not immediately stop when the blood work becomes normal. Most people stop losing their hair and begin replacing lost hair a few months after the thyroid hormone levels become normal. In some cases, it can take longer.
- Stress can contribute to hair loss. Because of the nature of thyroid disease, it can have a direct impact on the psychological well-being of patients, particularly on the coping mechanisms that deal with stress. Unfortunately, as patients become more and more concerned about their hair loss, their stress levels increase, making the situation worse.
- It is advisable to take caution when considering chemical treatments of the hair-for example, coloring or permanent waves. If at all possible, avoid such treatments until the hair loss has stopped.
- Cutting the hair shorter, using moisturizing and conditioning hair products, and avoiding back combing are other methods to decrease stress on the hair.
The most important things you can do to minimize further hair loss are to faithfully take prescribed thyroid medications and to be calm and patient.
Have more questions? Need more answers? Check our Full Thyroid FAQ
Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer Treatment
Anaplastic thyroid cancer cannot be cured by surgery alone. Most anaplastic thyroid cancer patients opt to completely remove their thyroid gland; however it does not help prolong their lives. The highly advised anaplastic thyroid cancer treatment is radiation therapy combined with chemotherapy. This anaplastic thyroid cancer treatment provides significant benefit. Tracheotomy or a surgery that places a tube into the throat to ease breathing and gastrostomy or a surgery that puts a tube into the stomach to help with eating may also be needed as part of anaplastic thyroid cancer treatment. Some anaplastic thyroid cancer patients also opt to enrol themselves in a clinical trial of new thyroid cancer treatments as an option.
Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer Survival Rate
Possible complications of anaplastic thyroid cancer include spreading of the anaplastic tumor within the neck and spreading of the cancer to other body tissues and organ. Since the prognosis for anaplastic thyroid cancer is poor, only less than 5% patients survive in a span of 5 years. 10% of patients are alive in the first 3 years. However, in most cases, most patients are not able to survive for more than 6 months and 80% do not survive over a year. 25% of anaplastic thyroid cancer patients already have tracheal infiltration that compromises breathing during the initial diagnosis, while 50% of anaplastic thyroid cancer patients have anaplastic thyroid cancer spread to the lungs by the time they are diagnosed.
Thyroid Guide & Links to Related Articles
|There are four parathyroid glands that are normally having the size of a single rice grain. In some normal cases, they can be as big as the size of a pea.|
|Also called underactive thyroid, hypothyroidism is a disorder that is characterized by abnormal level of thyroid hormones in the body, which is too low.|
|The thyroid is a butterfly (pear)-shaped gland, it consists of 2 symmetrical lobes joined by a central isthmus that normally covers the 2nd & 3rd tracheal rings.|
|Congenital hypothyroidism is a thyroid gland disorder that may lead to deafness or mental retardation if left undetected.|
|Hypothyroidism can cause depression. Most people don?t realize that this feeling is depression caused by the thyroid gland not functioning as it should.|
|Papillary thyroid cancer is one of the thyroid cancer types. This type of thyroid cancer arises from the follicles in the thyroid gland.|
|The thyroid gland is located immediately below the larynx on each side of and anterior to the trachea. It is one of the largest of the endocrine glands|
|These thyroid hormones are responsible in regulating the body?s metabolism, which is how much food will be broken down into useful energy for consumption.|
|When the thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone, one may suffer from hyperthyroidism.|
|The thyroid stimulating hormone is produced by the pituitary gland. The thyroid stimulating hormone promotes the growth of the thyroid gland.|
|Thyroid hormones are chemical substances produced by the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is located in the front of the neck.|
|Natural thyroid supplements are helpful as a remedy to thyroid disorders. Its natural ingredients assure one of its safeties in taking it.|
|The thyroid gland is an endocrine gland that is the primary responsible in regulating the body?s metabolism.|
|Thyroid surgery is used to treat people with thyroid problems such as thyroid cancer, thyroid nodules and hyperthyroidism.|
|Thyroid tests or thyroid function tests are done to check the thyroid function in one?s body. A doctor will be able to determine and diagnose the thyroid disorder.|
|Treatment for thyroid disorders should be done to prevent unwanted results caused by the severity of the condition. Consult a physician for more of these treatments.|
|Thyroidectomy is a surgical process wherein the whole or a part of the thyroid gland is removed. This surgical process is used to treat thyroid disorders.|
|Having an underactive thyroid is a minor problem but it seeks proper attention to avoid further health problems. Consult a physician about any thyroid problem.|
|Low thyroid, also known as hypothyroidism, is a condition where the thyroid gland is under active.|
|Following a healthy meal plan, exercise and proper medication goes hand in hand to treat hypothyroidism. Consult a physician for a more individualized plan.|
|Each thyroid cancer treatment depends on the type of thyroid cancer and the extent or stage of the thyroid cancer one is suffering from.|
|Parathyroid hormones are considered to be the most important endocrine regulator. It basically regulates the calcium and phosphorus concentration in the body.|
|Studies show that since 1925, the standard treatment for parathyroid disease is to surgically remove the parathyroid gland(s) which are overproducing parathyroid hormones.|
|Parathyroid adenoma is a small tumor of the parathyroid gland and is known to be the most common disorder of the gland.|
|Medullary thyroid cancer is one of the types of thyroid cancer. This type of thyroid cancer is more common in women than in men.|
|Most people don?t feel any symptoms. Others can just lose weight and just feel depressed for no reason at all.|
|Suppose you go in for a routine checkup and your doctor decides to test your thyroid function. You?ve experienced no thyroid disease symptoms|
|Hypothyroidism develops for over a long period of time. It?s normally from several months to even several years.|
|People who are suffering from hypothyroidism are advised to get plenty of exercise and have a balanced and healthy diet. The diet must be rich in protein and iodine.|
|Self medicating one?s thyroid disorder with hypothyroidism diet pills without proper information of the diet pill does not address the problem.|
|Hyperthyroidism is when the thyroid gland is overactive and produces too much thyroid hormones more than the body needs.|
|Hypothyroidism is one of the chronic diseases in the world. Hypothyroidism is also known as underactive thyroid; hypo means under or below normal.|
Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer
|Anaplastic thyroid cancer is a type of thyroid cancer that is rare and aggressive. It affects the thyroid gland and most especially its function.|
|Problems arise if the thyroid gland is overactive or underactive. There are three common thyroid disorders. These are hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism and the thyroid nodules.|
Thyroid Hair Loss
|Hair loss may happen for so many reasons but it is commonly associated to thyroid problems such as hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism.|
|Thyroid Function Tests are the different tests conducted to assess and determine the cause of an individual?s thyroid problems.|