If you took Byetta (exenatide) to control type-2 diabetes, you may or may not have been aware that this drug has been linked to an increased risk of thyroid cancer. Fortunately, most people with thyroid cancer can be cured with surgery and radiation therapy.
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Surgery to Remove Thyroid Cancer
Most cases of thyroid cancer are slow-growing, detected early, and can be removed and cured with surgery. There are several different types of surgery for thyroid cancer:
- Lobectomy: The thyroid gland is butterfly-shaped, with two “lobes.” A lobectomy involves removal of one lobe where the cancer is found. The remaining lobe is often still able to produce metabolic hormones, which reduces the long-term complications of removing the thyroid.
- Thyroidectomy: This involves removing the entire thyroid gland.
- Lymphadenectomy: This involves removal of the lymph nodes in the neck. If thyroid cancer spreads, it is most likely to spread to the lymph nodes.
Radiation Therapy for Thyroid Cancer
Thyroid cancer treatment options depend on the stage of the thyroid cancer and other individual circumstances. The following types of radiation therapy may be used to treat thyroid cancer:
- Radioactive iodine: This treatment is often performed after surgery to remove thyroid cancer. The patient is treated with high doses of radioactive iodine, which destroys any thyroid tissue that remains after surgery, and any cancerous tissue that was not removed.
- External radiation therapy: This treatment involves high-energy X-rays that are pointed directly at cancerous cells. Treatments are given five days a week for about six weeks.
- Chemotherapy: It is rare for chemotherapy treatment to be used in patients with thyroid cancer. It involves intravenous administration of drugs that use chemicals to kill cancer cells and other growing cells.
Thyroid Cancer Drug Information
Thyroid cancer treatment often involves the removal of the thyroid gland. The thyroid will not be able to make enough thyroid hormone, and patients will need to take hormone replacement medications for the rest of their lives to regulate their metabolism and prevent the thyroid from growing. These drugs include:
- And more
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