Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer – Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Anaplastic thyroid cancer or carcinoma is considered as the most aggressive, but a rare form of cancer. It affects the thyroid gland and is prevalent among the age group over 60. The real cause behind this invasive type of thyroid cancer is still a challenge for the researchers in medicine.

Of all thyroid cancers only 1% accounts for anaplastic cancer. Unlike other thyroid cancer, it spreads to the other body parts and organs and hardly responds to any kind of treatment.

anaplastic thyroid cancer

Causes of ATC 

To be precise, the researchers, doctors, scientists are still trying to locate the culprit behind ATC. As it is rare among the rarest, it is very difficult to detect. Only experts can identify it in during the biopsy and in most cases the ATC cells are missed out during the process.

The present thought process of the scientific world reveals that it might result from a chain of genetic mutation but what is the triggering factor is still a topic of debate.  It is really difficult to diagnose ATC at an early stage and when detected, it may be too late as it grows very rapidly. It is often detected within Goitre or a more differentiated cancer of thyroid.

Symptoms of ATC 

Although it is very difficult to identify ATC at an early stage, but few symptoms which enables the doctors to suggest tests for ATC biopsy are:

  • The growth of a mass in the neck the area which grows at a faster rate.
  • Change in the voice or hoarseness
  • The sound of breathing is loud.
  • Regular coughing followed by coughing of blood.
  • Difficulty in swallowing.

Features of ATC 

The pre-dominant features of ATC are:

  • It is really rare among young patients and the peak manifestation of the disease is at the age of 65 and after.
  • It is mainly visible among males than in females.
  • It is common in the neck area and grows very rapidly.
  • As it is detected very late, you can evidently visualise a spread to the lungs or bones.
  • The chances of getting cure are really rare and involve an extensive treatment.
  • It requires tracheostomy to enable the patient to breathe.

Treatments of ATC 

The most common treatment suggested by the doctors for ATC is:

  • Surgery if detected earlier.
  • Radiation to stop the spread.
  • Chemotherapy to kill the cells.
  • Tracheotomy for helping with breathing.

The main concern about ATC is its late diagnosis, which makes it more aggressive and is almost invasive when diagnosed.