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Anaplastic carcinoma of the thyroid
This type of cancer cannot be cured by surgery. For most patients, complete removal of the thyroid gland does not prolong their life.
Of other treatment options, only radiation therapy combined with chemotherapy give significant benefit.
Surgery to place a tube in the throat to help with breathing (tracheostomy) or in the stomach to help with eating (gastrostomy) may be needed.
For some patients, enrolling in a clinical trial of new thyroid cancer treatments may be an option.
The stress of illness can often be eased by joining a support group of people sharing common experiences and problems. See: Cancer - support group
The prognosis of this disease is poor. Most people do not survive longer than 6 months due to the aggressive nature of this disease and lack of effective treatment options.
Call your health care provider if there is a persistent lump or mass in the neck, hoarseness, changing voice, cough, or coughing up blood.
Ladenson P, Kim M. Thyroid. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007: chap 244.
National Comprehensive Cancer Network. NCCN Guidelines in Oncology 2010: Thyroid Cancer. Version 1.2010.
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