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  • Thyroid cancer on the rise
  • July 14, 2014
  • 13thyroid-articleLarge

    Photo by: zilli/iStock

    By Karla Sullivan

    According to the National Cancer Institute, the United States is expected to see a rise in thyroid cancer-related deaths and new cases of the cancer in 2014:

    New cases: 62,980

    Deaths: 1,890

    During the last decade, studies have shown there has been a significant increase in incidents and mortality, which has caused debate within the scientific community.

    Overdiagnosing of thyroid cancer, according to Mayo clinic, could be prompting the surge in small throat tumors where surgery, medication and radiation may not be needed. High tech imaging can detect lesions that could not be seen earlier. These lesions may not be fatal and removing the entire thyroid gland is a question physicians should be asked, as patients have to stay on hormones the rest of their life once the gland is removed.

    According to the American Cancer Society, doctors may need to differentiate between lesions that are harmful and those that are not a scare. Lesions can be reduced in size through laser treatment rather than surgery. The following are risk factors for thyroid cancer:

    -Three times more often in woman

    -A diet low in iodine

    -Exposure to radiation

    -Some hereditary factors may play a part but rare

    According to the American Thyroid Association, the different types of thyroid cancer include:

    Papillary thyroid cancer is the most common type, making up about 70 percent to 80 percent of all thyroid cancers and can occur at any age. Papillary cancer tends to grow slowly and often spreads to lymph nodes in the neck. Papillary cancer has a generally excellent outlook even if they spread to the lymph nodes.

    Follicular thyroid cancer, which makes up about 10 percent to 15 percent of all thyroid cancers in the United States, tends to occur in somewhat older patients. As with papillary cancer, follicular cancer first can spread to lymph nodes in the neck. Follicular cancer is also more likely to grow into blood vessels and then spread to distant areas, particularly the lungs and bones.

    Medullary thyroid cancer, which accounts for five to ten percent of all thyroid cancers, is more likely to run in families and be associated with other endocrine problems. In family members of an affected person, a test for a genetic mutation in the RET proto-oncogene can lead to an early diagnosis of medullary thyroid cancer and, subsequently, curative surgery to remove it.

    Anaplastic thyroid cancer is the most advanced and aggressive thyroid cancer and is the least likely to respond to treatment. Fortunately, anaplastic thyroid cancer is rare and found in less than 2 percent of patients.

    Overall, the prognosis of thyroid cancer is excellent,especially for patients younger than 45 years of age and those with small cancers. Patients with papillary thyroid cancer who have a primary tumor that is confined to the thyroid gland have an excellent outlook.

    For patients over 45 years of age, or those with larger, more aggressive tumors, the prognosis remains encouraging but the risk of cancer recurrence is higher. The prognosis is not quite as good in patients whose cancer cannot be completely removed with surgery or destroyed with radioactive iodine treatment. Nonetheless, these patients often are able to live a long time and continue to feel well despite the fact that they continue to live with cancer.

    Several insurance companies give life insurance policies to cancer survivors. Your life insurance policy rate and coverage will depend on the type of cancer you have and the curability rate. Based on treatment type, size of the tumor and your age, it is still possible to get standard rates with this type of thyroid cancer. If in treatment, sometimes you may have to wait until the surgery or specific treatment is complete.

  • Category: Articles Library, Company Profiles, Life Insurance, Medical News

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