Thyroid Cancer Treatment Cost in India – Procedure, Best Doctors & Hospitals

Posted on April 16th, 2020 by Ganesh Gopakumar

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Cost of thyroid cancer treatment in India

Cost of thyroidectomy (surgery) is USD 3300-5500

Cost of radioactive iodine therapy is USD 1000-2500

The cost within India varies based on the choice of hospital and the choice of city.

Choice of Hospital

The type of hospital you choose has a decisive role in the overall cost of the procedure. The cost varies drastically when we go from an economy hospital to a premium hospital. The cost mainly rises in premium hospitals due to the higher room rent, cost for medical care, etc.

Choice of City

The city in which the hospital you choose lies has a major impact on the total cost. The cost of food, accommodation, and transportation are much higher in Tier 1 cities. Hospitals in metro cities also charge higher for medical care. Tier 2 cities are cheaper.

Thyroid

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland found on the neck. Strictly speaking, it lies below your adam’s apple and in front of your trachea (windpipe). It has two lobes connected by a bridge called the isthmus. It is highly vascular and has many nerves for voice passing through it. 

The main function of the thyroid is the secretion of a number of thyroid hormones. The most important one is thyroxine or the T4 hormone. The function of this hormone being regulating metabolism, growth, development, and also body temperature. 

What is thyroid cancer?

Thyroid cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the thyroid gland. The number of thyroid cancer is increasing day by day. According to the National Cancer Institute, there are more than 56000 new thyroid cancer cases reported each year. This cancer are more likely to affect women more than men. The ratio of women to men diagnosed with thyroid cancer is 3:1. Modern technology allows doctors to diagnose even the minutest thyroid cancers which were earlier undetectable. 

Symptoms of thyroid cancer

The symptoms start to appear very late if ever they appear. The symptoms could include:

  • A lump in the neck
  • Hoarseness or change in voice
  • Rarely pain is experienced
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck

Types of thyroid cancer

There are mainly 4 types of thyroid cancer:

  • Papillary thyroid cancer (85%)

This is the most common type of thyroid cancer which begins in the follicular cells. These cells produce and store thyroid hormones. It can occur regardless of age, but usually seen in patients between the age of 30-50. 

  • Follicular thyroid cancer (10%)

The second common type of cancer which happens to the butterfly-shaped gland. This is almost similar to the first-mentioned type but it happens only in patients older than 50. The follicular cells are the cells that are affected. 

  • Medullary thyroid cancer (3%)

The calcitonin producing cells called C-cells are affected in this case. It is usually related to high calcitonin levels in the blood. So checking the calcitonin levels can help diagnose medullary thyroid cancer in the early stages. It is triggered genetically, but rarely. 

  • Anaplastic thyroid cancer (1%)

It is cancer that affects the follicular cells but is rapidly growing. Due to its rapid growth, it becomes too worse really fast and difficult to treat. It is mostly seen in old aged people above the age of 60.

What causes thyroid cancer?

The exact cause of thyroid cancer is yet unknown, but there are several risk factors which can increase the chances of getting it:

  • Being a female. Females have 50% more chances of getting thyroid cancer. 
  • Exposure to radiation.
  • Genetics

How is thyroid cancer diagnosed?

You should consult a doctor immediately if you experience any of the symptoms. It is advised to get a medical checkup regularly to diagnose any type of condition in the initial stages. 

  • The doctor will conduct a physical examination. He checks your medical history along with your family’s medical history. He will also ask you questions to know whether you are exposed to radiation in any way.  
  • Blood test are done to check for any signs of cancer. For example, a higher calcitonin level in your blood could mean you have medullary thyroid cancer. 
  • An X-ray could check for any thyroid enlargement.
  • CT scan is also used as a diagnostic modality of thyroid cancer.
  • An MRI scan helps to see any tiny bit of thyroid cancer. 
  • Ultrasound scan is another modality that can tell whether any nodule present is cancerous or not. 
  • Fine-needle aspiration biopsy is the process of taking a tissue sample for laboratory testing. It is done with the guidance of CT imaging or ultrasound imaging.

Treatment

Most of the thyroid cancer is curable. In patients below the age of 50, the cure rate is 98% if it is treated properly. In both papillary and follicular thyroid cancer, the treatment would involve removal of the lobe of the thyroid affected. However, the treatment option depends upon the type of cancer and the patient’s condition.

Surgery

In most cases of papillary and follicular cancer, the lobe needs to be removed. The surgery are of various types:

Thyroidectomy 

This procedure involves the removal of the whole of the thyroid gland. However, small parts of the thyroid are left near the parathyroid gland to prevent damage to it. It is done only if possible. 

Thyroid lobectomy

This procedure is the removal of the lobe of the thyroid which is affected by cancer. It is done when only one lobe of your thyroid has a malignant tumor. The other lobe would be not having any signs or maybe have a benign tumor. Benign tumors are harmless and just needs constant examination. 

Lymph node dissection 

In this case, cancer has spread to the lymph nodes as well. So in order to remove all cancer, the surgeon removes the lymph nodes in your neck along with the thyroid gland. 

Side effects
  • The removal of the thyroid can lead to damage to the nerves which goes to your voice box. This can lead to a change in your voice.
  • Damage to the parathyroid gland can cause low blood calcium levels. The parathyroid gland is responsible for controlling blood calcium levels. 

Thyroid hormone therapy

This is done after the removal of the thyroid gland. Once the gland is removed, your body won’t be producing thyroid hormones responsible for controlling metabolism, growth, and development. So you will be treated by thyroid hormones externally. Levothyroxine is usually used as the medication and it should be taken lifelong. The medication produce the thyroid hormones necessary. It also suppresses the thyroid stimulation hormone (TSH) which could trigger the growth of any cancer cells left behind. 

Note: You should only take medication based on your doctor’s advice. This is just for informative purposes. 

Internal radiotherapy

Internal radiotherapy is the usage of a small radioactive substance inside the body. In this case, radioactive iodine (I-131) is used. I-131 is a radioactive isotope of iodine. It destroys the minute cancer cells left behind as well as some healthy cells. It is taken as a capsule or liquid, and it affects only the thyroid cells. 

 

Radiation therapy 

High energy radiation beams are targeted at the tumor site to destroy the tumor. It is mainly done when surgery can’t be done due to some reason. The procedure is also done if the iodine therapy fails. It may be combined with chemotherapy for the best results.  The therapy is usually done by a radiotherapy technologist, with the doses decided by an oncologist. You will lie on the table while the machine rotates around you and send radiation beams. 

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy drugs are administered orally or intravenously to kill the cancer cells. It is done in several cycles with a break in between. The dosages and the number of sessions are decided by the oncologist. The chemo drugs affect all actively growing cells, and so the bone marrow has a high chance of getting affected. It is not mostly used in the case of thyroid cancer but used in certain cases.

Best Doctors in India for Thyroid Cancer Treatment

  1. Dr. VP Singh
  2. Dr. Aditya Gupta
  3. Dr. MR Sivakumar
  4. Dr. Paneer A
  5. Dr. Rajendran S
  6. Dr. Rajeev Anand
  7. Dr. Sangeetha Ravat
  8. Dr. Sreekanta Swamy
  9. Dr. Chandran Gnanamuthu
  10. Dr. Prathipa Singhi

Best Hospitals in India for Thyroid Cancer Treatment

  1. Paras Hospital, Gurgaon
  2. Medanta Hospital, New Delhi
  3. Artemis Hospital, Delhi
  4. Max Hospital, New Delhi
  5. Nanavati Hospital, Mumbai
  6. BLK Super Speciality Hospital, New Delhi
  7. Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, New Delhi
  8. Artemis Hospital, Gurgaon
  9. Fortis Flt. Lt. Rajan Dhall Hospital, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi
  10. Max Super Specialty Hospital, Gurgaon

FAQ

How can thyroid cancer be prevented?

Chances of you getting thyroid cancer be reduced by reducing any radiation exposure. You should have a regular checkup so that any disorder or condition can be found out at an early stage. Most health professionals recommend a full body checkup every year. 

Does having a lump in the neck means I have thyroid cancer?

No, having a lump doesn’t mean you have thyroid cancer. 90% of the lumps in the neck are benign (non-cancerous). But you need regular followup on it. 

Can thyroid cancer reappear after surgery?

Yes, it can reappear after surgery. The surgeon and endocrinologist will constantly monitor it over time. 


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