The thyroid gland is located at the front of the trachea and produces a hormone controlling, e.g., heart rate, energy level, and weight. The number of patients with thyroid cancer is growing, and women are slightly more affected than men. There are several types of thyroid cancer. The most common is papillary thyroid cancer, and with optimal treatment, it has an excellent prognosis in most cases. Karolinska University Hospital is a tertial referral center in Stockholm county and performs around 1000 operations on the thyroid per year.
Thyroid cancer is often discovered as a lump visible on the outside of the neck. Other symptoms that can be present are hoarseness, problem swallowing, and a feeling of pressure in the throat.
Clinical examination, ultrasound, blood samples, and fine needle cytology set the diagnosis. Additional examinations like CT-scan and MR may be of value.
Surgery is the primary treatment for thyroid cancer, and additional treatment with radioactive iodine is required, pending the type of thyroid cancer. In rare cases, external radiation in combination with chemotherapy may be required.