ENT Head & Neck Surgery Center

Rm 02, 5/F., Kai Seng Commerical Centre,
4-6 Hankow Road, TST Kln, HK
(near Kowloon Hotel)
Tel: (852) 3100 0555
Fax: (852) 3100 0556

Lawrence Chow / ENT Doctor

What is Thyroid Cancer?

What is Thyroid Cancer ?

One of the most common cancers is thyroid cancer. In 2014 there were just over 62,900 cases of thyroid cancer in the United States. Fortunately, the chances of complications are low while five year survival rates are high – clocked in at 95%.


Development of Spinal Metastasis

This means only 1 of 20 ever develop serious complications. As of 2014, over 1,800 died from serious complications. One of the most common issues with thyroid cancer is when it spreads to the nearest part of the body – the spine. This is referred to as spinal metastasis.


Out of the majority of patients diagnosed with well-differentiated thyroid cancer, 3% will develop bone metastasis, particularly through the spine. Furthermore, almost 50% of patients that develop bone metastasis develop vertebral metastasis.


Complications Due to Thyroid Cancer – Spinal Metastasis

The original cancer growth, paired with spinal metastasis, could lead to spinal compression and even fracture. This is one of the first complications met that leads to significant drop in the quality of life of the patient. Spinal fracture around the neck leads to paralysis and reduced motor functions for eating, conversing, and breathing.


There are also possibilities of metastasis developing in other areas of the body such as the lungs, breast, and the brain. Fortunately, these occurrences are quite rare, with the lung metastasis seeing a general 13% chance of occurring, breast metastasis at 8%, and brain metastasis at 3.7%.


Since spinal metastasis is the most common complications, here is a rundown of some of the more common treatment options:


Treatment Options for Thyroid Cancer Spinal Metastasis

While there are many options to kill the cancer cells such chemotherapy and laser surgery, the most common procedures done for treating these complications are relegated to:


  • Radioiodine Therapy – radioactive iodine may be taken in either liquid or solid form. The treatment is generally for hyperthyroidism and may be a cause of thyroid cancer. However, in the case of spinal metastasis due to thyroid cancer, radioiodine therapy is conducted to minimize the infected area.
  • Radiosurgery – SRS and SBRT radiosurgery are often conducted to minimize pain of the concerned area. Radiation surgery has been around for over several decades and is one of the safest means of targeting the cancer cells without harming the surrounding tissue.
  • Pharmacologic Therapy – anti-epileptic drugs are commonly used to reduce the neuropathic pain induced by spinal metastasis. Drugs such as Gabapentin, lamotrigine, tiagabine, and carbamazepine are all effective pharmaceutical solutions for treating pain.

Steroid therapy is also used to treat bone pain.


  • Minimally Invasive Spinal Surgery – when all else fails, minimally invasive surgery may be done to control the spread of the cancerous tissue and, in cases where the spreading has not yet taken hold of bulk organs, could help treat the case entirely.



HK ENT Specialist Ltd.

Hong Kong based ENT clinic centre

For ENT Services, Audiology & Speech Therapy,

Sleep Disordered Breathing Management,

Hearing Aid Prescription & Medical Cosmetic Services


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