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Disease

Causes and Treatments of Furuncle (Boils) | Dermatology

What is the furuncle?

A furuncle or boil is a disease of the hair follicle. The follicle is a small hole in the skin where hair forms. Most people have a furuncle. These grow deep into the skin. Clusters of boils are called carbuncles. Boils are commonly found on the face, neck, breasts, armpits, and buttocks.

Alternate name

  • Boils

Why does the furuncle occur?

Most people with boils are healthy and have good personal hygiene. However, they carry Staphylococcus aureus on the surface of their skin (Staphylococcus carrier state). In general, it is not known why this occurs, but it is estimated that between 10 and 20% of the population are carriers of staph.

Staphylococcus aureus is usually carried in the nostrils, armpits, between the legs, and between the buttocks. It can be transferred from the nostrils to other sites through the nails.

Types of furuncle

There are several different types of boils. Among these are:

  • Carbuncle
  • Hidradenitis suppurativa (seen in the armpit or groin)
  • A pilonidal cyst (area on the back where the buttocks merge)
  • Cystic acne
  • Sty (stye)

Causes of furuncle

Furuncles are caused by bacteria (germs) that multiply under the surface of the skin. Your immune system is important in fighting infection. If germs get under your skin and your immune system doesn’t kill them quickly to keep them from multiplying, you run the risk of developing a boil or carbuncle.

These health problems make people more prone to skin conditions:

  • Diabetes
  • Problems with the immune system
  • Poor nutrition
  • Poor hygiene
  • Exposure to harsh chemicals that irritate the skin

Risk factors for furuncle

Anyone can develop boils. The child is at greater risk if he or she:

  • You have diabetes or a weakened immune system
  • There are other skin diseases
  • The skin is in close contact with those who have a tumour, boil, or carbuncle.
  • There are skin lesions such as scrapes, cuts, or insect bites
  • In a hot tub or spa water that has not been properly treated

Symptoms of furuncle

A boil on the affected area of the skin begins as pale, pinkish-red, and swollen. Over time, it feels like a water-filled balloon or cyst.

The pain is aggravated when it fills with pus and dead tissue. The pain goes away when the boil dries up. A boil can drain on its own. Most of the time, the boil must be opened to remove it.

The main symptoms of a furuncle include:

  • Deep swelling of the skin, a red bump (sometimes a hair grows out).
  • Painful, especially when touched and in certain areas of the body (such as the nose or ear)
  • The size can vary from a pea to a golf ball.
  • A whitish-yellow central “head” may develop that breaks down and releases pus
  • It spreads to the surrounding skin, creating a carbuncle

Other symptoms may include:

  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • General ill-feeling
  • Itching before the boil develops
  • Skin redness around the boil

Diagnosis of furuncle

Your doctor can diagnose a boil by examining your skin. If you have multiple boils in a short period of time, your doctor may run blood tests to check for diabetes or other medical conditions, which can increase your risk of recurring infections.

Treatment of furuncle

Very simple boils can be treated at home. A good way to speed up the healing process is to boil a warm washcloth for 10 minutes, three to four times a day. The hot boil increases blood circulation, which means that more infection-fighting white blood cells are sent out.

After it boils, cover it with clean gauze or dressing to prevent the spread of infection. Wash your hands well with soap and hot water, as this will help prevent bacteria from spreading to other parts of your body or other people.

Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, ease the pain caused by boils. Your doctor may want to make a small opening in the boil to let the pus out. This is called lancing the boil. You’ll numb the area first. Sometimes gauze is draped over the cut to help it stay open and dry.

Your doctor may also guide antibiotics to stop the infection. Take your antibiotics as prescribed. Do not stop taking them because you feel good or because the boil looks good. You must take a full course of antibiotics.

Complications

  • Abscess of the skin, spinal cord, brain, kidneys, or different organs
  • Brain infection
  • Heart infection
  • Bone infection
  • Infection of the blood or tissues (sepsis)
  • Spinal cord infection
  • Spread of disease to different parts of the body
  • Permanent scarring

Prevention

To help prevent furuncle:

  • Keep your face and body clean and dry.
  • If your skin is susceptible to it, apply an antibacterial wash such as benzyl peroxide 10% on your body (be careful, it can be irritating and bleach clothes and clothing) or a high gloss wash (do not use it on your neck )
  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Cover open wounds and keep them clean
  • Don’t share razors, towels, makeup, etc.
  • Don’t pick, pop, or squeeze the area

When to contact the doctor?

  • Boil on your face, near your spine, or your anus
  • Produces fever or severe pain
  • Do not cure with home treatment in 1 week
  • Cause of pain or discomfort
  • You will get a lot of boils in many months

Departments to consult for this condition

  • Department of dermatology
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Disease

Diagnosis and Treatments of Angiosarcoma | Oncology

What is angiosarcoma?

Angiosarcoma is a cancer of the internal lining of blood vessels, and it can occur in any area of the body. The disease most normally occurs in the skin, breast, liver, spleen, and deep tissue. Angiosarcoma of the skin, or cutaneous angiosarcoma, makes up the popular of angiosarcoma cases, and it is usually found on the scalp and face. Angiosarcoma that appears underneath the superficial of the skin is called subcutaneous angiosarcoma. Approximately 25% of angiosarcomas are found in deep tissue, and around 8% are creating in breast tissue.

It occurs in men and women of all races, and they are occasional in children. Patients with this disease are best treated at a cancer centre where an expert sarcoma team and resources are obtainable to provide specialized and responsive care.

Symptoms of angiosarcoma

The signs and symptoms may contrast founded on where cancer occurs.

Angiosarcoma that affects the skin

Most often, it happens in the skin on the head and neck, chiefly the scalp. Signs and symptoms of this form of this disease contain:

  • A raised, purplish area of skin that looks like a bruise
  • A bruise-like lesion that grows larger over time
  • A lesion that may bleed when scratched or bumped
  • Swelling in the surrounding skin

Angiosarcoma that affects organs

When this disease affects tissues, such as the liver or the heart, it often causes pain. Other symptoms rest on the location of this disease.

Causes of angiosarcoma

It’s not clear what causes most angiosarcomas, though doctors have recognized factors that may increase your risk of the disease.

Doctors know that somewhat happens that causes a cell in the lining of a blood vessel or lymph vessel to develop an error (mutation) in its genetic code. The change tells the cell to grow quickly, making more abnormal cells. The abnormal cells last living when other cells would die.

The result is a buildup of abnormal cells that grows from the artificial blood vessel or lymph vessel. With time, cells may break off and spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body.

 Risk factors

Factors that may raise your risk of angiosarcoma include:

  • Radiation therapy: Treatment with radiation for cancer or other situations may increase your risk of this cancer. A rare problem of radiation therapy, it typically occurs five to 10 years after treatment.
  • Swelling caused by lymph vessel damage (lymphedema): Lymphedema is swelling caused by a stoppage of lymph fluid that occurs when the lymphatic system is blocked or damaged. Lymphedema is a risk whenever lymph nodes are detached during surgery — a technique that’s often used to treat cancer. Lymphedema can also happen in response to infection or other conditions.
  • Liver angiosarcoma has been connected to exposure to several chemicals, with vinyl chloride and arsenic.

Diagnosis of angiosarcoma

Tests and procedures used in angiosarcoma diagnosis include:

  • Physical exam: Your physician will thoroughly examine you to understand your condition.
  • Removing a sample of tissue for testing (biopsy): Your doctor will remove a sample of suspicious tissue for research laboratory testing. Analysis in the lab can detect cancer cells and control certain characteristics of your cancer cells that may help guide your treatment.
  • Imaging tests: Imaging tests can give your physician an idea of the extent of your cancer. Tests may include MRI, CT, and positron emission tomography (PET). Which tests you undergo will depend on your particular situation.

Treatment of angiosarcoma

Which angiosarcoma treatment is best for you to rest on your cancer’s location, its size, and whether it has spread to other areas of your body.

Treatment options may include:

  • The goal of surgery is to eliminate this cancer. Your surgeon will eliminate cancer and some of the healthy tissue that surrounds it. In some cases, surgery may not be an option, for example, if the cancer is very large or has spread to other areas of the body.
  • Radiation therapy: Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays, such as X-rays and protons, to kill cancer cells. Radiation therapy is occasionally used after surgery to kill any cancer cells that remain. Radiation therapy may also be a choice if you can’t undergo surgery.
  • Chemotherapy is a treatment that uses drugs or chemicals to destroy cancer cells. Chemotherapy may be a selection if your cancer has spread to other areas of your body. In certain circumstances, it may be combined with radiation therapy if you can’t undergo surgery.

Complications

Communal complications of this disease include Pathologic fractures, anemia, and hepatic dysfunction. Prognosis is normally poor; the 5-year survival rate of patients with this disease is approximately 12-33%. Poor prognostic factors include patient age (> 65 years), retroperitoneal location, and large tumour size.

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Disease

Diagnosis and Treatments of Ichthyosis | Dermatology

What is Ichthyosis?

Ichthyosis is a family of genetic skin disorders. This can lead to dry, peeling skin that can be thick or very thin. Symptoms range from mild to severe. The word fish is derived from the Greek root prefix “itchy”. Each year, more than 13,000 babies are born with any kind of ichthyosis.

According to one study, about 300 babies are born with moderate to severe skin disorders each year. This attacks people of all ages, races, and genders. The disease usually occurs at birth or in the first year and affects the patient for the rest of their life.

Types of Ichthyosis

Some types only cause dry skin, flaky skin. Others cause problems even within the body.

Most forms of the disease are very rare. The rare types are:

  • Ichthyosis Vulgaris: This is a type of ichthyosis. It is a common skin disorder that is passed down from parents to children and leads to dry, flaky skin.
  • X-linked recessive ichthyosis: This is a genetic skin disorder called steroid sulfate deficiency (STS).
  • Epidermolysis Ichthyosis or Epidermolytic hyperkeratosis: Patients with epidermolysis ichthyosis develop thick, dark, spiny scales on the skin, and the skin itself is more likely to blister with any impact or injury.
  • Lamellar Ichthyosis: In this variant of this skin disorder, the hardening of the skin reappears, but the formation of large plaque-shaped scales can also be observed.

Causes of Ichthyosis

Most people with ichthyosis receive a specific defective gene from their parents. Signs and symptoms of hereditary ichthyosis appear at birth or in the first year of life.

A defective gene affects the rate of regeneration of the skin: the removal of old skin cells is very slow or skin cells regenerate much faster than the old skin. Either way, it aggravates rough and flaky skin.

Some people get ichthyosis because they have another medical condition or have side effects from medications.

Symptoms of ichthyosis

Depending on the genetic abnormality causing the skin disorder, the skin can show different layers. In most cases of ichthyosis Vulgaris, the skin forms in layers over most of the body, but not on the inner surfaces of the joints, the groin area, or the face.

The symptoms of ichthyosis range from mild to severe. The most common characteristics are:

  • Acute dryness of the skin with thickening and scaling, which is only visible in limited areas or can cover almost the entire surface of the skin.
  • Mild itching of the skin
  • Body odor, because the spaces under and between the scales of the skin contain accumulations of bacteria or fungi.
  • Waxing in the ears causes hearing problems.

Depending on the type, there may be other symptoms:

  • Blisters that can break, leading to wounds.
  • Hair loss or fragile hair.
  • Dry eyes and difficulty closing eyelids.
  • Inability to sweat because skin scales clog the sweat glands.
  • Difficulty hearing.
  • Thickening of the skin on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet.
  • Tightening of the skin.
  • Difficulty flexing some joints.
  • Open wounds from scratching itchy skin.

Diagnosis of ichthyosis

A doctor can usually diagnose ichthyosis by looking at the skin. Family history can also be of great help. In some cases, a skin biopsy is done to confirm the diagnosis. In a biopsy, a small piece of skin is divided and analyzed under a microscope. In rare cases, genetic testing can help make a diagnosis.

Treatment for ichthyosis

In the treatment of all types of this disease, moisture is restored to the skin and dead skin cells are removed more aggressively. Frequent visits to a dermatologist can help when this skin disorder causes severe symptoms.

  • People with the disease may choose to visit a dermatologist every day to help with ichthyosis.
  • Using moisturizing creams or ointments after bathing or showering can help keep your skin hydrated.
  • Products that contain lanolin, urea, or petroleum jelly can go a long way in keeping your skin moist.
  • Some creams or lotions contain medications that promote the removal of scales from the skin. These creams or lotions include lactic acid or other alpha hydroxy acids.
  • Affected people may need to use antibiotics from time to time if scratching causes a skin infection or if body odor becomes a major problem.
  • People with the disease need to see a doctor if they have a fever or redness of the skin, as it can make your skin a less effective barrier against infection.

If it causes scratching and skin infections, or if body odor is a major problem, antibiotics may be needed from time to time.

Test

There is no single test for this disease. The health care provider will usually diagnose the disorder:

  • Ask about their medical and family history, including any skin disorders.
  • Do a physical exam, which consists of examining your skin, hair, and nails.
  • Skin biopsy to check the tissue under a microscope.
  • Request a genetic test to find out if you have a mutated gene.

Complications

Some people may experience:

  • Overheating: In rare cases, the thickness of the skin and scales from the ichthyosis can interfere with sweating. This can prevent frostbite. In some people, excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis) occurs.
  • Secondary infection: Cracks and fissures in the skin can lead to infections.

Prognosis

The most severe forms of this skin disorder can be life-threatening to the affected newborn, but most people with this skin disorder have a normal life expectancy. Hereditary forms of this disease persist throughout life.

Acquired of this skin disorder can be resolved if the underlying cause can be treated effectively or if the offending drug is stopped.

Departments to consult for this condition

  • Department of dermatology
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Disease

Treatments and Preventive Measures of Erysipelas | Dermatology

What is erysipelas?

Erysipelas is a type of skin infection. Erysipelas is an infection (surface) of the epidermis. The most common cause is group A streptococcal bacteria, especially streptococcus pyogenes. This is a deep red rash with raised edges, easily recognizable by the surrounding skin. The injured skin may be hot to the touch.

At one time, erysipelas was thought to primarily affect the face, but recent studies suggest that the distribution of inflammation is changing, with the legs currently involved in nearly 80% of cases. The rash can also appear on the hands or trunk.

Alternate name

  • St. Anthony’s fire

Causes of erysipelas

It is caused by a bacteria called Streptococcus pyogenes, which also causes pharyngitis (sore throat) and strep throat. The face and hands are most affected because a person with strep throat brings coughs and viruses to the skin.

It occurs when bacteria enter the skin through cuts, abrasions, or other breaks and spread rapidly through small lymphatic vessels below the surface of the skin. In an attempt to neutralize bacteria, the immune system launches an inflammatory attack that causes local blood vessels to rupture and tissue to swell.

In some cases, bacteria can penetrate the skin without compromise if there is pre-existing lymphedema (such as after a radical mastectomy to remove lymph nodes). Without a lymphatic system to isolate disease-causing germs, the skin is more prone to infection.

Risk factors

Older people with weakened immune systems or who have fluid retention problems after surgery is at the highest risk. The risk factors include:

  • Broken skin, including cuts, abrasions, insects bites, ulcers, animal bites, and burns
  • Immune deficiency
  • Eczema
  • Psoriasis
  • Athlete’s foot
  • Venous insufficiency
  • Diabetes
  • Being overweight
  • Lymphedema
  • Strep throat
  • Prior history of this disease

Symptoms of erysipelas

The symptoms typically include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Generally feeling unwell
  • A red, swollen, and sensitive area of skin with a raised edge
  • Blisters on the affected area
  • Swollen glands

Diagnosis of erysipelas

The diagnosis of erysipelas is by symptom; Blood culture is performed in patients who appear toxic.

Erysipelas of the face must be distinguished from herpes zoster, angioedema, and contact dermatitis. Diffuse inflammatory breast cancer can also be confused with erysipelas.

Treatment for erysipelas

The standard treatment for erysipelas is antibiotics. Penicillin is often the first-line treatment option for streptococcal infections. Other antibiotics may be used if you are allergic to penicillin.

  • Cephalosporin-class antibiotics
  • Clindamycin (brand names Cleocin, Clindacin, Dalacin)
  • Dicloxacillin (brand names Dycill, Dynapen)
  • Erythromycin (brand names Erythrocin, E-Mycin, Ery-Tab)
  • Azithromycin (brand names Zithromax, AzaSite, Z-Pak)

In most cases, it can be treated by mouth instead of intravenous (IV) antibiotics. Any pain, swelling, or discomfort can be treated with rest, cold compresses, and elevation of the affected limb. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Advil (ibuprofen) or olive (naproxen) can be used to relieve pain and fever.

Surgery

Surgery is required only in rare cases of erysipelas where healthy and rapidly developing tissue dies. A surgical operation may be required to amputate the dead tissue.

Prevention of erysipelas

  • Since erysipelas is caused by cracks in the skin, it is advisable to take good care of it by cleaning it regularly. In such cases, the use of antiseptics or humectants is preferred.
  • Always keep wounds clean and dry
  • Avoid scratching the affected area if you have any skin conditions
  • Treat skin problems like eczema or athlete’s foot right away.

Complications

In some cases of cellulitis, bacteria can trigger a secondary infection in other parts of the body, such as in the blood (septicemia).

Blood poisoning can be fatal and often requires hospitalization for treatment with intravenous antibiotics (antibiotics are given directly into a vein)

Other complications can include:

  • Abscesses
  • Necrotizing fasciitis: A rare bacterial infection of the deepest layer of the skin, causing the death of affected tissue.
  • Facial cellulitis: Which can lead to meningitis if untreated

Departments to consult for this condition

  • Department of dermatology
Categories
Disease

Types and Preventive Measures of Thyroid Cancer | Oncology

What is thyroid cancer?

Thyroid cancer occurs in the cells of the thyroid, a butterfly-shaped gland situated at the base of your neck, just below Adam’s apple. Your thyroid makes hormones that regulate your heart rate, blood pressure, body infection, and weight. This may not cause any symptoms at first. But as it grows, it can cause pain and swell in the neck.

There are several types of thyroid cancer. Some grow very slowly and others can be very violent. Most belongings of this disease can be cured with treatment. These disease rates appear to be increasing. Some doctors believe this is because new technology allows them to find small thyroid cancers that may not have been found in the past.

Types of thyroid cancer

  1. Papillary thyroid cancer: This disease, arises from follicular cells, which crop and store thyroid hormones. Papillary thyroid cancer can occur at any age, but most often affects people in their 30s to 50s. Doctors sometimes refer to papillary and follicular thyroid cancer collected as differentiated thyroid cancer.
  2. Follicular thyroid cancer: This also arises from the follicular cells of the thyroid. It usually affects societies over the age of 50. Hürthle cell cancer is a rare and potentially more aggressive type of follicular thyroid cancer.
  3. Anaplastic thyroid cancer: This is a rare type of thyroid cancer that begins in follicular cells. It grows quickly and is very difficult to treat. This usually occurs in adults 60 years of age or older.
  4. Medullary thyroid cancer: This begins in thyroid cells called C cells, which make the hormone calcitonin. Raised levels of calcitonin in the blood can specify medullary thyroid cancer at a very early stage. Certain genetic syndromes increase the risk of medullary thyroid cancer, although this genetic link is rare.
  5. Other rare types: Other very rare types of diseases that begin in the thyroid include thyroid lymphoma, which begins in cells of the thyroid immune system, and thyroid sarcoma, which begins in cells of the thyroid’s connective tissue.

Symptoms of thyroid cancer

Thyroid cancer does not usually cause any signs or symptoms early in the disease. As thyroid cancer grows, it can cause:

  • A lump (nodule) that can be felt through the skin on the neck
  • Changes in your voice, including increased hoarseness
  • Difficulty to swallow
  • Pain in the neck and throat
  • Swollen lymph nodes in your neck

Causes of thyroid cancer

It is not clear what causes thyroid cancer.

Thyroid cancer occurs when cells in your thyroid feel inherited changes (mutations). Mutations allow cells to grow and multiply rapidly. Cells also lose the aptitude to die, as normal cells would. The accumulation of abnormal thyroid cells forms a tumour. The abnormal cells can invade nearby tissue and spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body.

Risk factors

Factors that can escalation your risk of thyroid cancer include:

  • Gender: This disease happens more often in females than in men.
  • Exposure to high levels of radiation: Radiation therapy treatments to the head and neck intensification the risk for this disease.
  • Certain inherited genetic syndromes: Genetic syndromes that increase the risk of thyroid cancer contain familial medullary thyroid cancer, numerous endocrine neoplasia, Cowden syndrome, and familial adenomatous polyposis.

Diagnosis of thyroid cancer

Thyroid biopsy

Tests and processes used to diagnose thyroid cancer include:

  • Physical exam: Your doctor will observe your neck to feel for physical changes in your thyroid, such as thyroid nodules. They may also ask you about your risk factors, such as past radiation exposure and a family history of thyroid tumours.
  • Blood test: Blood tests help determine if the thyroid gland is working normally.
  • Ultrasound images: Ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of body structures. To create an image of the thyroid, the ultrasound transducer is placed on the lower part of the neck. The arrival of your thyroid on ultrasound helps your doctor determine if a thyroid nodule is likely not cancerous (benign) or if there is a risk that it is cancerous.
  • Removal of a sample of thyroid tissue: During a fine needle aspiration biopsy, your doctor inserts a long, thin needle through the skin to the thyroid nodule. Ultrasound imaging is typically used to precisely guide the needle to the nodule. Your specialist uses the needle to eliminate samples of suspicious thyroid tissue. The sample is tested in the laboratory to look for cancer cells.
  • Other imaging tests: You may have one or more imaging tests to help your doctor find out if your disease has spread beyond the thyroid. Imaging tests can include CT, MRI, and nuclear imaging tests that use a radioactive form of iodine.
  • Genetic test: Some people with medullary thyroid cancer may have genetic changes that may be associated with other endocrine cancers. Your family history may lead your doctor to recommend genetic testing to look for genes that increase your risk of cancer.

Treatment for thyroid cancer

Your thyroid cancer treatment options depend on the type and stage of your disease, your general health, and your preferences. Most thyroid cancers can be cured with treatment.

Treatment may not be needed right away

Very small thyroid cancers that have a low risk of spreading throughout the body may not need treatment right away. Instead, you might consider active surveillance with frequent cancer monitoring. Your doctor may recommend blood tests and an ultrasound exam of your neck once or twice a year.

In some people, cancer may never grow and never require treatment. In others, eventually, growth can be detected and treatment can be started.

Surgery

Most people with thyroid cancer have surgery to remove the thyroid. Which operation your doctor may recommend depends on the type of this disease, the size of the disease, whether the disease has spread beyond the thyroid, and the results of an ultrasound exam of the entire thyroid gland.

Operations used to treat thyroid cancer includes:

  • Removal of all or utmost of the thyroid (thyroidectomy): An operation to remove the thyroid gland may involve removing all of the thyroid tissue (total thyroidectomy) or most of the thyroid tissue (near-total thyroidectomy). The surgeon often leaves small borders of thyroid tissue around the parathyroid glands to reduce the risk of damage to the parathyroid glands, which help regulate calcium levels in the blood.
  • Removal of a portion of the thyroid (thyroid lobectomy): During a thyroid lobectomy, the surgeon eliminates half of the thyroid. It might be recommended if you have slow-growing thyroid cancer in one part of the thyroid and there are no suspicious nodules in other areas of the thyroid.
  • Removal of the lymph nodes in the neck (lymph node dissection): By removing the thyroid, the surgeon can also remove nearby lymph nodes in the neck. These can be tested for signs of cancer.
  • There is also a risk that the nerves connected to the vocal cords may not function normally after surgery, which can lead to vocal cord paralysis, hoarseness, voice changes, or shortness of breath. Treatment can improve or reverse nerve problems.

Thyroid hormone therapy

This medication has two benefits: it supplies the missing hormone that the thyroid would normally produce, and it suppresses the production of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) from the pituitary gland. High levels of TSH could stimulate the growth of the remaining cancer cells.

Radioactive iodine

Radioactive iodine treatment uses large doses of a form of iodine that is radioactive.

Radioactive iodine treatment is frequently used after thyroidectomy to destroy any residual healthy thyroid tissue, as well as microscopic areas of this disease that were not removed during surgery. Radioactive iodine treatment can also be used to treat thyroid cancer that comes back after treatment or has spread to other areas of the body.

Side effects can include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Mouth pain
  • Eye inflammation
  • Altered sense of taste or smell
  • Fatigue

Most of the radioactive iodine leaves your body in your urine during the first few days after treatment. You will be given instructions on the precautions to take during this time to protect others from radiation. For example, you may be asked to temporarily avoid close contact with other people, especially children, and pregnant women.

External radiation therapy

Radiation therapy can also be delivered externally by a machine that directs high-energy beams, such as x-rays and protons, to precise points on the body (external beam radiation therapy). During treatment, you lie still on a table while a machine changes about you.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is a drug treatment that uses chemicals to destroy cancer cells. Chemotherapy is usually given as an infusion through a vein. The chemicals travel throughout the body and destroy rapidly growing cells, including cancer cells.

Targeted drug therapy

Targeted drug treatments focus on specific abnormalities present in cancer cells. By delaying these abnormalities, targeted drug treatments can reason cancer cells to die.

Injecting alcohol into cancers

Alcohol ablation involves injecting alcohol into small thyroid cancers using imaging such as ultrasound to ensure accurate injection placement. This procedure causes thyroid cancers to shrink.

Supportive (palliative) care

Palliative care is specialized medical care that focuses on providing relief from pain and other symptoms of a serious illness. Palliative care specialists work with you, your family, and your other doctors to provide an additional layer of support to complement your ongoing care.

Complications

Despite treatment, thyroid cancer can return, even if your thyroid has been removed. This could happen if microscopic disease cells spread beyond the thyroid before being removed.

This disease can come back in:

  • Lymph nodes in the neck
  • Small pieces of thyroid tissue that remain during surgery
  • Other areas of the body, such as the lungs and bones

Thyroid cancer that comes back can be treated. Your doctor may recommend regular blood tests or thyroid scans to check for signs of this disease recurrence.

Prevention

Doctors aren’t sure what causes most thyroid cancer, so there is no way to prevent this disease in people who are at average risk for the disease.

Prevention for people at high risk

Adults and kids with an inherited genetic transformation that increases the risk of medullary thyroid cancer may consider thyroid surgery to prevent the disease (prophylactic thyroidectomy). Discuss your options with a genetic counsellor who can explain your risk for thyroid cancer and your treatment options.

Prevention for people close to nuclear power plants

Sometimes a drug that blocks the effects of radiation on the thyroid is given to people who live near nuclear power plants. The drug (potassium iodide) could be used in the unlikely event of a nuclear reactor accident. If you live within 10 miles of a nuclear power plant and are concerned about safety precautions, contact your local or state emergency management department for more information.

Departments to consult for this condition

  • Department of oncology