What is Metastatic Thyroid Cancer?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Patients with thyroid cancer can develop symptoms like fatigue and weight gain.
Patients with thyroid cancer can develop symptoms like fatigue and weight gain.

Metastatic thyroid cancer is cancer of the thyroid that has spread into other regions of the body. This cancer contains rogue thyroid cells and can be clearly linked to the parent cancer, no matter where it ends up. When cancers metastasize, they become harder to treat, as it is less possible to remove all of the cancer cells in surgery, and radiation and chemotherapy must be designed carefully to hit the cancer cells while minimizing damage to healthy cells in the body.

The prognosis for a patient with metastatic thyroid cancer depends on the precise location of the cancer.
The prognosis for a patient with metastatic thyroid cancer depends on the precise location of the cancer.

The most common form of thyroid cancer, accounting for around 70% of cases, is papillary thyroid cancer. Patients can also develop other variants. Most frequently, when the cancer metastasizes, it spreads to the neighboring lymph nodes, and the swelling of these nodes may be the first warning sign of cancer for the patient. Other metastatic thyroid cancer can travel to the bones and the lungs, two nearby sites vulnerable to the spreading cancer. These cancers are known as thyroid cancers no matter where they appear, as cancers are named for the cells involved, rather than the location.

The cancerous nodes formed on the thyroid gland can be detected by a doctor with a physical exam of the neck.
The cancerous nodes formed on the thyroid gland can be detected by a doctor with a physical exam of the neck.

Patients with thyroid cancer can develop symptoms like fatigue and weight gain, depending on the type of cancer. Biopsies can show cancers in the thyroid and the recommended treatment is usually removal, along with excision of neighboring lymph nodes to check for metastases. If there is a concern that a patient has developed metastatic thyroid cancer in another region of the body, medical imaging studies may be requested to look for signs of cancerous growths.

Only about 5 percent of diagnosed thyroid masses are cancerous.
Only about 5 percent of diagnosed thyroid masses are cancerous.

The prognosis for a patient with metastatic thyroid cancer depends on factors like the size of the metastases and their precise location. Doctors usually recommend aggressive treatment to kill off the rogue cells, and in some patients, treatment is highly effective. Other patients may have less responsive cancers. The cancer could continue to spread in defiance of treatment, leading to increasingly worse symptoms in the patient.

Roughly 70 percent of thyroid cancer cases are papillary thyroid cancer.
Roughly 70 percent of thyroid cancer cases are papillary thyroid cancer.

When patients are diagnosed with metastatic thyroid cancer, it can be helpful to ask for details about the disease and treatment options. Doctors can discuss the risks and benefits of different available treatments, and should be able to provide information about the prognosis with various kinds of treatment. Consulting a specialist with ample experience in the area of thyroid cancer can provide patients with the most up-to-date treatments, as well as access to a physician who has considerable knowledge of similar cases.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a InfoBloom researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a InfoBloom researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

You might also Like

Readers Also Love

Discuss this Article

Post your comments
Login:
Forgot password?
Register:
    • Patients with thyroid cancer can develop symptoms like fatigue and weight gain.
      Patients with thyroid cancer can develop symptoms like fatigue and weight gain.
    • The prognosis for a patient with metastatic thyroid cancer depends on the precise location of the cancer.
      The prognosis for a patient with metastatic thyroid cancer depends on the precise location of the cancer.
    • The cancerous nodes formed on the thyroid gland can be detected by a doctor with a physical exam of the neck.
      The cancerous nodes formed on the thyroid gland can be detected by a doctor with a physical exam of the neck.
    • Only about 5 percent of diagnosed thyroid masses are cancerous.
      Only about 5 percent of diagnosed thyroid masses are cancerous.
    • Roughly 70 percent of thyroid cancer cases are papillary thyroid cancer.
      Roughly 70 percent of thyroid cancer cases are papillary thyroid cancer.
    • Problems with the thyroid may cause high blood pressure.
      Problems with the thyroid may cause high blood pressure.