Lymphoma Of The Thyroid Gland: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Lymphoma of thyroid is a rather rare lymphoma, which is seen in old women. There are 2 varieties – primary and secondary.

  • Primary Lymphoma of the thyroid: This involves the thyroid first and later on can involve other parts such as – the lymph nodes and bone marrow.
  • Secondary Lymphoma of the thyroid: This involves other parts of the body first, such as the lymph nodes, bone marrow, and other viscera; and later on the thyroid gets involved.

Lymphoma of the thyroid may be B cell lymphoma or T cell lymphoma. The occurrence of B cell lymphomas is a little more commonly seen than T cell lymphomas.

What Causes Lymphoma Of Thyroid Gland?

Lymphoma is principally seen in females in their 60s. Both men as well as women can be affected; however, there is a higher predilection for women. No specific risk factors have been linked to the development of lymphoma of thyroid gland.

However, the following conditions are known to be associated with it:

  • Autoimmune conditions
  • Older people
  • Smokers
  • An attenuated immune mechanism
  • A family history of  an immune disorder
  • X rays, CT scans
  • A systemic disorder
  • Exposure to radiation and industrial chemicals
  • Chemotherapy
  • Epstein-Barr virus infection
  • Those who work in nuclear plant, pilots, astronauts, etc.
  • Certain medications
  • An immunodeficiency syndrome, such as AIDS

Lymphocytes are WBCs which provide immunity in our body. B cells and T cells are two different types of lymphocytes. Under certain circumstances, the lymphocytes start multiplying abnormally, and this leads to lymphoma. There are 2 types of lymphomas:

  1. Hodgkin lymphoma
  2. Non Hodgkin lymphoma

The cause of lymphoma of the thyroid is not known. Certain defects in the genes, such as translocation of the chromosomes have been linked to the development of lymphomas. This defect causes an alteration in the regulatory elements of some cancer-causing genes, which increases the synthesis of their mRNA, thereby increasing their protein levels. This in turn stimulates a wrong growth of cells. An abnormal development of lymphocytes produces malignant cells leading to the formation of lymphoma.

Lymphoma Of The Thyroid Gland Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of lymphoma of thyroid gland are:

  • A lump in the neck which may be accompanied by pain
  • Tickling sensation in throat
  • Hoarse voice
  • Dry and sore throat
  • Dry cough
  • Educed appetite and inexplicable weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Anemia
  • Frequent infections
  • Low blood pressure

Treatment Options For Lymphoma Of Thyroid Gland

Treating lymphoma of the thyroid gland needs a multi-disciplinarian approach. The treatment regimen depends upon the person’s overall health, age, stage of lymphoma as well as its sub-type.

  • Chemotherapy: Makes use of a combination of drugs to annihilate the malignant cells and may be administered as a pill, liquid, shot, or intravenously.
  • Surgical intervention: Removal of the lymphoma from the neck.
  • Radiation: Radiation therapy makes use of high energy radiation waves to destroy the malignant cells. It is usually used in conjunct with chemotherapy. Radiation may be given via a machine placed outside the body or by placing a radioactive material within the body.
  • Supportive treatment: Your doctor will prescribe anti-biotics, steroids, transfusion of blood, anti-emetics to deal with the symptoms successfully.
  • In case the lymphoma does not respond to the treatment, or if recurrence possibility is high, then bone marrow transplantation or stem cell transplantation is advocated.

You doctor will work out the most optimal line of treatment for you, based upon your individual circumstances. Furthermore follow-ups with periodic screening and check-ups are very vital.