Hürthle cell thyroid cancer is a rare and aggressive type of thyroid cancer. However, the outlook for people with this cancer can be good when it’s diagnosed and treated in its early stages. The main treatment is surgery.
Thyroid cancer begins in your thyroid gland, which makes hormones that are important for regulating your metabolism. There are many types of thyroid cancer.
Hürthle cell cancer (HCC), or oxyphil cell carcinoma, is a rare type of thyroid cancer. According to the
Hürthle cells are large cells that are found in both benign and cancerous thyroid lesions. They have specific characteristics under a microscope, such as a round nucleus and a grainy appearance.
Most of the time, thyroid nodules are
When nodules become very large, they can cause symptoms such as:
Risk factors for Hürthle cell thyroid cancer
You may have a higher risk of thyroid cancer in general if any of your close relatives have had it. HCC is
Previous radiation exposure to the head, neck, or chest is also a known risk factor for thyroid cancer. However, a
The diagnosis of HCC begins with your doctor taking your medical history and doing a physical exam. During the physical exam, they will feel your thyroid and the lymph nodes in your neck to see whether they’re larger than usual.
Healthcare professionals may use an ultrasound to check for and evaluate thyroid nodules.. A radioiodine scan can also be used to assess nodules. Nodules that take up a lot of radioactive iodine, called hot nodules, are
For nodules that may be cancerous, healthcare professionals will perform a biopsy using fine needle aspiration (FNA). Molecular tests on the biopsy sample can help identify cellular changes that are associated with cancer.
Once your doctor has diagnosed HCC, they may do additional tests to see whether the cancer has spread to other areas of your body. This typically involves imaging tests such as:
The main type of treatment used for HCC is surgery. This can involve a lobectomy or the removal of the entire thyroid (thyroidectomy). If cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes, these may be removed as well.
After surgery, radioactive iodine (RAI) may be used for cancers that have a high risk of recurrence. However, only
If the cancer has metastasized, healthcare professionals may treat it with RAI, external beam radiation therapy, or targeted therapy drugs. The targeted therapy drugs used for HCC are lenvatinib (Lenvima) and sorafenib (Nexavar).
If HCC remains localized to your thyroid, it’s possible for healthcare professionals to remove it entirely from your body with surgery alone. However, if your thyroid is removed, you will need to take thyroid hormone therapy for the rest of your life.
HCC is more aggressive than many other types of thyroid cancer. That means it can grow and spread more quickly. However, the outlook can be positive when it’s diagnosed in early stages, before it has spread beyond the thyroid.
The outlook for metastatic HCC is less favorable. A small
HCC can also come back after treatment. This is called recurrence. Researchers have estimated that
HCC is a rare type of thyroid cancer that is often asymptomatic.
HCC is more aggressive than other types of thyroid cancer. However, the outlook for people with this cancer tends to be positive if it’s diagnosed early.
Contact your doctor if you notice a new lump or bump in your neck, swollen lymph nodes in your neck, or pain in the front of your neck. While these symptoms may not be caused by thyroid cancer, they may indicate other conditions that need attention.