What is Anaplastic Small Cell Carcinoma of the Thyroid?Anaplastic small cell carcinoma of the thyroid is a type of high-grade cancer that originates from the follicular cells of the thyroid. A high-grade tumour is the tumours that grow and spread to other parts of the body rapidly. It accounts for approximately 1-1.7% of all thyroid cancers in the United States. It grows rapidly and invades the nearby structures of the thyroid resulting in pain and difficulty in swallowing food, difficulty in breathing and a hoarse voice.
Disease EpidemiologyAnaplastic small-cell cervical cancer is more common in women than in men. It is more common in people between the ages of 60 and 70. The incidence of anaplastic small cell carcinoma of the larynx in people belonging to areas of iodine deficiency is high.
Disease Etiology (Cause)There is no well-known cause, however, exposure to certain types of ionizing radiation and inadequate dietary iodine intake are some of the risk factors that are believed to be responsible for follicular thyroid cancer.
Signs and SymptomsThe patient may suffer from the following signs and symptoms. These are;
- A palpable, silent (asymptomatic ) mass or nodule in the neck
- In the early stages, there is no symptom of pain
- Some patients can suffer from cough, difficulty in swallowing and breathing
- In advanced stages of the tumour, there will be a pain in the neck region
- Pain and difficulty while swallowing the food
- Hoarse voice
- In cases of distant bone metastases, bone fractures and bone pain may occur.
DiagnosisThe following diagnostic tests and procedures can be used to make a diagnosis, these are;
- Thyroid Function test ( Test for TSH, T3, and T4, these are thyroid hormones )
- Ultrasonography (USG) thyroid and neck
- USG-guided fine needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB)
TreatmentSurgery is the main treatment option; the selection of the right surgical procedure depends upon the size and extent of the tumour.
- If the tumour is less than 1 cm, lobectomy (removal of the affected part of the thyroid gland) and isthmustectomy (surgical removal of the isthmus).
- If the tumour exceeds 1 cm without distant metastases, thyroidectomy (surgical removal of the thyroid gland) is recommended.
- For distant metastases, thyroidectomy is recommended along with radiation therapy and chemotherapy.