What is Medullary Thyroid Carcinoma?Medullary thyroid carcinoma originates from the C cells of the thyroid that secretes calcitonin hormone. Calcitonin maintains blood calcium levels in the human body. 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. Among the types of thyroid cancer, it is the most common and accounts for approximately 3% of all types of thyroid cancer. It tends to spread to other parts of the body such as lymph nodes, neck, chest, lungs, liver, skin and bones.
Disease EpidemiologyIt accounts for approximately 2-3% of all medullary thyroid tumours. The annual incidence of new cases is approximately 14 per 100,000 in the United States. The average age of onset of isolated Medullary Thyroid Carcinoma is 50 to 60 years.
Disease EtiologyA mutation (changes in DNA) in a particular gene, called the RET-proto oncogene, is responsible for the development of medullary thyroid carcinoma.
Signs and SymptomsThe patient may suffer from the following signs and symptoms. These are
- A mass or lump at the base of the neck
- Some patients may suffer from the difficulty in swallowing, hoarse voice and difficulty in breathing.
- Weight loss
- Bone pains
DiagnosisThe following diagnostic procedures and techniques can be used to make a diagnosis. These are
- Serum calcitonin levels
- USG(Ultrasonography) neck and thyroid
- Fine needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB) and histopathology