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Treating thyroid tumours

Dr Sandeep Nayak, Nov 12, 2016: 22:48 IST
A lump in the throat that can be felt through the skin, difficulty in swallowing or change in voice – while these indicate disorder in the thyroid gland, a persistency in the symptoms could mean cancer.

Not all thyroid nodules may be cancerous. But most of the times, they need to be removed by surgery to confirm that. According to research, thyroid gland tumours are the most common endocrine tumours found in India, and 5-10% of all thyroid nodules are cancerous.

However, experts suggest that if diagnosed on time, endocrine cancer could be treated effectively through surgical and pharmacological interventions.

Completely curable

There are four types of thyroid cancers: papillary (most common, 70% to 80% of all thyroid cancers are of this kind), follicular (10% to15%), medullary (5% to 10%) and anaplastic (less than 5%).

Like most of cancers, thyroid cancer also often goes undiagnosed for a long time, as the nodule often seems harmless. But the good news is that most thyroid cancers are slow-growing and are completely curable.

With the advancement in treatment modalities and the introduction of minimally invasive surgery, patients can now be treated without any scars or long-term problems. This technique is called Scarless Endoscopic or Robotic Thyroidectomy and can be used for benign nodules, suspected cancers or proven cancers in the thyroid gland.

Less invasive treatment

The surgery is done by making small cuts in the body and inserting surgical devices along with a pinhole camera, which helps the surgeon control the movement by looking at the monitor.

Due to negligible cuts in the body and less disruption to the internal organs, the procedure ensures minimum blood loss, faster wound healing, less time in the hospital, quicker recovery, fewer follow-ups and complications post-surgery and most importantly, improved clinical outcomes and better quality of life after the surgery.

Less pain

After thyroid gland removal, unlike conventional surgery, the minimally invasive technology leaves no scars. Also, there is less restriction in movement after surgery and less discomfort while swallowing.

Considering the complexities and cosmetic challenges involved in thyroid surgery, minimally invasive technology offers an excellent treatment option for the patients looking for safer, faster and less scarring alternative.

(The author is a robotic and laparoscopic cancer surgeon in Bengaluru)

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