What is Anaplastic Thyroid Carcinoma?
Anaplastic Thyroid Carcinoma is a type of thyroid cancer. This is an aggressive type of cancer that can affect and invade the local organs surrounding the thyroid gland.The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped gland that secretes certain hormones that are responsible for regulating the metabolism, growth, and development of the human body.
Disease EpidemiologyAnaplastic thyroid carcinoma accounts for approximately less than 2% of all thyroid cancers. It is slightly more common in women than in men, with a female to male ratio of 3: 1. The average age for developing anaplastic thyroid carcinoma is 60 years.
Disease EtiologyCertain genetic mutations, iodine deficiency, and any underlying thyroid cancer contribute significantly to the development of anaplastic thyroid carcinoma.
Signs and SymptomsThe patient may present with the following signs and symptoms. These are
- Rapidly growing mass or lump in the neck
- Neck pain
- Difficulty in breathing
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Bone pains, lethargy, and weight loss where the cancer is spread to the distant parts of the body.
- Fever and night sweats
DiagnosisThe following diagnostic tests and procedures can be used to make a diagnosis. These are
- Thyroid Function tests (T3, T4)
- Thyroid-stimulating suppressor tests
- Serum calcium levels to rule out the underlying medullary thyroid carcinoma
- Computerized tomography Chest and X-Ray bones to rule out cancer metastases (spread of the tumour from its origin to the other parts of the body) to the lungs and bones.