|Other encyclopedia topics:||A-Ag Ah-Ap Aq-Az B-Bk Bl-Bz C-Cg Ch-Co Cp-Cz D-Di Dj-Dz E-Ep Eq-Ez F G H-Hf Hg-Hz I-In Io-Iz J K L-Ln Lo-Lz M-Mf Mg-Mz N O P-Pl Pm-Pz Q R S-Sh Si-Sp Sq-Sz T-Tn To-Tz U V W X Y Z 0-9|
|Contents of this page:|
Alternative Names Return to topThyroid - medullary carcinoma; Cancer - thyroid (medullary carcinoma); MTC
Definition Return to top
Medullary carcinoma of the thyroid is cancer of the thyroid gland that starts in cells that release a hormone called calcitonin. Such cells are called "C" cells.
Causes Return to top
The cause is unknown. Unlike other types of thyroid cancer, medullary carcinoma of the thyroid (MTC) is believed to be related to radiation therapy (a type of cancer treatment).
There are two forms of MTC:
You have an increased risk of medullary carcinoma of the thyroid if you have:
Other types of thyroid cancer include:
Symptoms Return to top
Exams and Tests Return to top
The health care provider will perform a physical exam. Lymph nodes in the neck may be swollen. Thyroid function tests are usually normal. However, an examination of the thyroid may reveal single or multiple nodules (lumps).
Other tests that may be used to diagnose medullary carcinoma of the thyroid include:
Treatment Return to top
Treatment involves surgery to remove the thyroid gland and surrounding lymph nodes. Because this is an uncommon tumor, surgery should be performed by a surgeon who is familiar with this type of cancer.
Chemotherapy and radiation do not work very well for this type of cancer. Radiation is used in some patients after surgery. There are a number of new treatments currently being investigated in clinical trials.
Support Groups Return to top
For additional information, see cancer support groups.
Outlook (Prognosis) Return to top
Approximately 86% of those with medullary carcinoma of the thyroid live at least 5 years after diagnosis. The 10-year survival rate is 65%.
Possible Complications Return to top
Complications may include:
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of medullary carcinoma of the thyroid.
Prevention Return to top
Prevention may not be possible. However, being aware of your risk factors, especially your family history, may allow for early diagnosis and treatment.
References Return to topBall DW. Medullary thyroid cancer: monitoring and therapy. Endocrinol Metab Clin North Am. 2007;36(3):823-837. Update Date: 3/21/2008 Updated by: Stephen Grund, MD, PhD, Chief of Hematology/Oncology and Director of the George Bray Cancer Center at New Britain General Hospital, New Britain, CT. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.