Thyroid Cancer In Children – Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

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Is your child finding it difficult to swallow food easily? Do you notice an unusual lump in her neck area? If your answer to the above questions is yes, your dear little one might be suffering from thyroid cancer. Read on to learn how thyroid cancer occurs, what are its symptoms, and how to treat it?

What Is Thyroid Cancer In Children?

The thyroid is a tiny butterfly-shaped gland at the base of the neck. It produces hormones that are crucial for a child’s growth. Thyroid cancer affects the thyroid gland with the development of a tumor. Cancer of the thyroid is the one of the most common endocrine malignancy in children. The deadly ailment occurs four times more in females than males. As a matter of fact, thyroid cancer in children is quite rare and affects just one child among a million children under ten years. With the right diagnosis, you can effective treat the ailment (1).

[ Read: Signs Of Lung Cancer In Children ]

Causes Of Thyroid Cancer In Children:

There is no particular cause of thyroid cancer in childhood, but certain risk factors can lead to it. Here are some of them.

1. Thyroid Health Conditions:

If the child has a history of medical conditions such as goiter or colon growth, then she may suffer from cancer of the thyroid.

2. Heredity:

If there is a family history of thyroid cancer, particularly medullary thyroid cancer, then it can be the cause of development of thyroid cancer. It occurs due to the RET gene that you can detect through a blood test.

[ Read: Symptoms Of Throat Cancer In Children ]

3. Female Sex Hormones:

Female sex hormones are largely responsible for causing thyroid cancer in a female child who is approaching her puberty. Even though female sex hormones are the cause, studies reveal that both boys and girls below age 10 are at equal risk of developing thyroid cancer.

4. Radiation Treatment:

Radiation treatment for treating other cancer, such as lymphoma, or a bone marrow transplant can result in thyroid cancer.

5. Radioactive Fallout:

The radioactive fallout due to nuclear testing or accidents in a nuclear power plant can lead to thyroid cancer in children (2).

Symptoms Of Thyroid Cancer In Children:

What are symptoms of thyroid cancer in kids? Find below some prominent symptoms of pediatric thyroid cancer.

  1. An unusual lump in the neck region which doctor can easily identify during a general health check-up.
  1. Difficulty in swallowing food easily
  1. Chance in the voice or voice turning hoarse
  1. Difficulty in concentrating
  1. Irritability
  1. Fatigue
  1. Feeling hot (3)

[ Read: Neurocutaneous Syndromes In Children ]

Treating Thyroid Cancer In Children:

Depending on the development of thyroid cancer in the child, the doctor prescribes the right line of treatment. Here are effective treatments for treating pediatric thyroid cancer.

1. Surgery:

If the child suffers from a malignant tumor, the doctor may recommend surgery. Surgery for thyroid tumor consists of lobectomy, subtotal thyroidectomy, or total thyroidectomy. For children with follicular thyroid cancer, the doctor recommends total thyroidectomy. It is necessary to remove lymph nodes present in the neck to prevent the spread of cancer.

2. Radioactive Iodine Therapy:

Radioactive iodine therapy may follow surgery to destroy the cancer cells that are left post surgery. Administering thyroid hormone therapy helps replace normal hormones and deters the growth of residual cancer cells (4).

[ Read: Foods To Boost Immunity In Kids ]

3. Chemotherapy:

If the thyroid cancer has spread to other body parts of your child’s body, chemotherapy is an effective line of treatment. Chemotherapy diminishes the ability of cancer cells to grow and reproduce.

Did your child suffer from thyroid cancer at any time? What did you do to treat it? Share your invaluable experience with fellow mommies here. Leave a comment below.

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