Hurthle Cell Cancer (HCC) is a very rare type of thyroid cancer and can be more aggressive form of thyroid cancer than other types. The thyroid gland is the butterfly-shaped gland at the neck, and it is responsible for production of hormones for metabolism, growth, and development of the body. The most common treatment are surgery and chemotherapy.
Hurthle cell cancer (HCC) does not always shows any symptoms, however, physical examination or imaging could help identify the disease. The signs and symptoms may not be specific for Hurthle cell cancer and it may instead be diagnosed as another disease therefore it is advisable to visit a specialist for proper diagnosis.
Signs and symptoms of HCC are as follows:
- Painful lump at the neck or throat
- Difficulty in speaking, breathing, or swallowing
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Hoarseness voice or change in voice
If you notice any signs and symptoms that are not normal and it worries you, then you should make an appointment with your doctor.
The exact cause of Hurthle cell cancer is still unknown. Generally, cancer starts when the cell’s DNA mutates. This mutation causes the cells to grow and divide rapidly outliving the healthy cells, and later on forms a tumor which can invade surrounding tissue or spread to other part of the body (metastasize).
Factors that may increase Hurthle cell cancer risk include:
- Family history: it is possible to develop HCC if there is a history of thyroid cancer from your parents or siblings.
- Radiation exposure: people who have exposure to radiation such as X-ray or radiation therapy particularly to the neck and head.
- Gender and age: It more commonly occurs in women than in men and is also common among older people.