DR.TSUBOKURA'S RADIATION LECTURE VOL.158

Author: Masaharu Tsubokura M.D., PhD.

Editor: Yudai Kaneda


315  The 10-year survival rate is 98% if the disease has not progressed.

February 20, 2021


The thyroid gland is a small butterfly-shaped organ, about 10-20 grams, slightly below the middle of the neck (below the throat). A malignant form of cancer that causes a lump to form in a part of the thyroid gland is called thyroid cancer. Thyroid cancers are classified into several types according to their microscopic appearance, but most radiation-related thyroid cancers are of a type called papillary carcinoma.


Generally, in medical care, one of the methods used to indicate the malignancy of cancer is the "5-year survival rate" index, which refers to the percentage of patients diagnosed with cancer who are still alive 5 years after the diagnosis. You may feel that this is a rather blunt indicator.


According to the National Cancer Center, the 5-year survival rate for all cancers is around 60%. However, the rate varies depending on the progression of the cancer, age, and treatment method. For example, the overall survival rate for colorectal cancer is about 70%, whereas it is reported to be about 90% in cases where the cancer has not progressed and about 20% in cases where the cancer has progressed.


On the other hand, for papillary thyroid cancer, the 10-year survival rate is often used instead of the 5-year rate, partly because of its good prognosis (after treatment).


It depends on the report, but the 10-year survival rate for those younger than 55 is said to be 98% to almost 100% if the disease has not progressed, and 85% to 95% even if the disease has progressed.



316  Surgery for Papillary Carcinoma

February 27, 2021


The thyroid gland is a small, 10-20 gram, butterfly-shaped organ located in the middle to the slightly lower part of the neck (below the throat).


A malignant form of the disease that causes a lump to form in a part of the thyroid gland is called thyroid cancer. Thyroid cancers are classified into several types according to their microscopic appearance, but most radiation-related thyroid cancers are of a type called papillary carcinoma. Papillary carcinoma is a name given to the cells because of their appearance and has nothing to do with breast cancer.


The main treatment for papillary thyroid cancer is surgery. Depending on the extent of the cancer, surgery may be performed to remove the entire thyroid gland, half or part of one side of the gland, or some of the surrounding organs and lymph nodes.


Besides surgery, other methods include taking radioactive iodine capsules, which expose the cancer cells to radiation by making them take in radioactive materials, and a new type of anti-cancer drug therapy called molecularly targeted drugs. Surgery might not be done immediately for tiny cancers, and the patient may be monitored carefully.


As I mentioned earlier, papillary carcinoma generally has an excellent prognosis (after treatment). Compared to cancers of other organs, it is essential to consider the possibility of a cure and the patient’s quality of life. It is necessary to decide on a detailed treatment plan for each patient.

 

The Japanese version of the manuscript was originally published in Fukushima Minyu, a local newspaper in Fukushima prefecture, Japan, on 20 and 27 February 2021 was reproduced for MRIC Global under the author's permission.


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