Definition of Thyroid Cancer

  • Forms when cells start to mutate and multiply at the thyroid grand.
  • Constitute of the small butterfly-like shaped organ located at the base of the neck.
  • Responsible for the control of the metabolism including the release of hormones with direct functions in the body (Felson, 2018).
  • Produces hormones that help in the regulation of metabolism, blood pressure, heart rate, and the body temperatures (American Cancer Society, ACS, 2019).
  • It is formed when abnormal cells multiply around the thyroid forming a tumor.
  • It is one of the most treatable form of cancer (UK National Health Services, NHS, 2019).

Types of Thyroid Cancer

  • Follicular thyroid cancer (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2017.).
  • Papillary thyroid cancer (Felson, 2018).
  • Medullary thyroid cancer (Felson, 2018).
  • Anaplastic thyroid cancer (National Cancer Institute, NCI, 2020).
  • Thyroid lymphoma (ACS, 2019).

Causes of the Disease

  • There are four main causes: –
    • Gender and age (Felson, 2018).
    • Exposure to radiations at early ages, e.g., radiation therapy in children (NCI, 2020).
    • Heredity and genetics passed along family lines e.g., familial medullary thyroid cancer (FMTC).
    • Lack of enough iodine.

Demographics of the Disease

  • Statistical analysis – 52,890 new cases recorded.
  • 40,170 – women.
  • 12,720 – men.
  • Prevalence of the disease is higher in women than men (ACS, 2020).
  • However, higher fatality rate is among men than women.
  • Women between 40s and 50s are at higher risk of developing thyroid cancer.
  • Men at 60 years and above are at higher risk.

Signs and Symptoms & Laboratory Findings

  • Signs and symptoms
    • At early stages, thyroid cancer does not have any symptoms or signs.
    • Symptoms that can be experienced include: –
      • pain on the neck and around the throat,
      • increasing hoarseness,
      • swollen lymph nodes,
      • difficulties in swallowing and breathing,
      • constant cough, and
      • lump in the front of your neck (NHS, 2019).
    • Laboratory findings
      • Uses blood tests to detect the presence of cancer in the body.
      • Testing comprises of drawing blood used to test for the thyroid gland function.
      • Blood test focuses to confirm or rule out the prevalence of hyperthyroidism (too high) or hypothyroidism (to low) levels (NHS, 2019).

Diagnosis and Images of the Disease & Treatment

  • Diagnosis
    • Blood test – thyroid function test.
    • Tests various levels of thyroid hormones in the blood (NHS, 2019).
    • Ultrasound – used to create image of inside the body.
    • Allows to check for lump that develops into cancer.
    • Biopsy is done to confirm the presence of cancer.
    • CT scan and MRI scan are used to determine the magnitude of thyroid cancer on your neck.
  • Treatment
    • Surgery
    • Radioactive iodine treatment
    • Radiotherapy

Diet for the Patient & Prognosis of the Disease

  • Diet for the Patient
    • Maintain low iodine levels in the diet (Cao et al., 2017).
    • Consumption of fresh fruits, vegetables, fresh meat, white eggs, unsalted nuts and butter nuts (Barrea et al., 2020).
    • Regulated consumption of seafood (Fiore et al., 2020; Li, He, Bansal & Hennessey, 2016)
  • Prognosis
    • Most thyroid cancer cases are curable.
    • Follicular and papillary thyroid cancer are the most common.
    • 50 years’ individuals have 98 percent cure rate (Clayman, 2019).
    • Early diagnosis increases cure capacity and success rate.


American Cancer Society, ACS. (2020). About thyroid cancer. Retrieved from

Barrea, L., Gallo, M., Ruggeri, R. M., Giacinto, P. D., Sesti, F., Prinzi, N., … & Colao, A. (2020). Nutritional status and follicular-derived thyroid cancer: An update. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 1-35.

Cao, L. Z., Peng, X. D., Xie, J. P., Yang, F. H., Wen, H. L., & Li, S. (2017). The relationship between iodine intake and the risk of thyroid cancer: a meta-analysis. Medicine96(20).

Clayman, G. (2019, May 14). Thyroid cancer. Endocrineweb. Retrieved from

Felson, S. (2018, Nov 13). Thyroid cancer. WebMD Medical Reference. Retrieved from

Fiore, M., Cristaldi, A., Okatyeva, V., Bianco, S. L., Conti, G. O., Zuccarello, P., … & Ferrante, M. (2020). Dietary habits and thyroid cancer risk: a hospital-based case–control study in Sicily (South Italy). Food and Chemical Toxicology, 111778.

Han, S. (2017, Apr 6). Thyroid cancer. Healthline. Retrieved from

Li, J. H., He, Z. H., Bansal, V., & Hennessey, J. V. (2016). Low iodine diet in differentiated thyroid cancer: a review. Clinical endocrinology84(1), 3-12.

Mayo Clinic Staff. (2017, Mar 11). Thyroid cancer. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved from

National Cancer Institute, NCI. (2020, May 21). Thyroid cancer treatment (Adult) (PDQ®) – patient version. NIH. Retrieved from

National Health Service, NHS. (2019, Aug 28). Overview – Thyroid cancer. Retrieved from

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