Thyroid Cancer Stages
Staging of a malignant tumor of the thyroid gland is not easy, the size of the node does not have a decisive importance, the morphological — more importantly, the cellular structure, the germination of the gland’s own capsule with cancer and its introduction into the surrounding organs with the formation of metastases in lymph nodes and other organs.
A prognosis II — III stage of papillary cancer fundamentally differs from medullary or anaplastic forms. Stage IV of follicular cancer may not affect the life expectancy of the patient, while stage I medullary cancer does not promise well-being.
Neoplasm of one structure at the same stage in a man, especially after 45 years, and in a woman — two different diseases with different perspectives. Yes, and «female» cancer in 25 years and after 50 years also does not promise «equality», a more mature woman will always have a worse and more malignant course of the disease than a young woman, with absolute equality in size, node structure and tumor spread.
Therefore, even in clinical recommendations for oncologists, the distribution by stages is not mentioned, treatment is based on the morphology of the process.
Symptoms of thyroid cancer may not manifest for decades, which allows a person to live in peace, unaware of the disease. Nine out of ten malignant tumors of the thyroid gland have a good prognosis without any death of cancer prospect.
Thyroid Cancer Variants
In most cases, thyroid cancer flows favorably, and the younger the patient, the better the life perspective, if you do not take into account life-long replacement therapy. Older patients are more likely to develop aggressive forms that are resistant to therapeutic effects.
- The most common form that affects six out of ten, papillary carcinoma develops three times more often in women between 30 and 40 years. Often does not damage the organ capsule, but can give metastases to the lymph nodes, which do not worsen the prognosis. In older women, the course of the disease is more aggressive.
- Follicular form occurs in every sixth patient with thyroid cancer, mainly in adulthood. Metastasizes to the bones and lungs, but most have a very good prognosis.
- Mixed follicular-papillary form has the features of both options, or the prevailing component.
- Medullary cancer can be genetically inherited, affects the young, develops rapidly and may be accompanied by another pathology of the endocrine glands. Survival is twice as bad as with the common variants.
The anaplastic variant is characteristic for the elderly, its course is aggressive with early symptoms of compression of the anatomical structures of the neck.
Early Onset Cancer Symptoms
A small-size tumor which is, in total, almost three-quarters of all thyroid neoplasms found on examination, does not have any clinical symptoms. There are no signs of cancer because the tumor tissue of the thyroid gland does not produce biologically active substances, with the exception of the medullary variant; the level of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) does not often increase with cancer. Due to the lack of functional activity during scanning, malignant tumors produce a «cold» node.
Only rapidly progressive medullary and anaplastic forms in a short time go from minimal to a clinically obvious pathological process with symptoms of compression of the organs and anatomical structures of the neck.
Widespread Thyroid Cancer Symptoms
With a significant increase in neoplasm — walnut size, by reducing the volume of normally functioning tissue, the total hormone production decreases, which is manifested by symptoms of hypothyroidism: constant drowsy lethargy, swelling of the face and weight gain, falling hair and dry skin.
The follicular variant may be accompanied by an increase in hormonal production, which will give symptoms of hyperthyroidism: excessive physical activity and weight loss, nervousness to shivering and hysterics, increased heartbeat and symptoms of over-stimulation of the cardiovascular system. The volume of peri-orbital tissue increases, due to that the eyes become bulging.
On the lateral surface of the neck, chains of enlarged lymph nodes can be determined, which are able to merge into painful stationary «packages».
In the case of a medullary and anaplastic form of thyroid cancer, the neck is massive, like a lumpy collar, bluish in color. The blockage of lymph and blood outflow causes swelling of the face. The tumor can germinate the capsule and penetrate into the surrounding tissues, limiting their mobility, squeezing the neurovascular trunks and larynx, causing hoarseness and stridor when the patient’s breathing is heard at a distance due to the narrow glottis, as if a damaged transistor is inside. The condition is severe due to hypoxia, the position is forced — sitting with a support on hands.