Park So-dam, the South Korean star of the Oscar-winning film “Parasite”, has been diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer. The 30-year-old actress was diagnosed with the disease during a routine checkup.
Newsweek previously reported that Park underwent surgery to treat the condition.
Papillary thyroid cancer, also known as papillary thyroid carcinoma, is the most common form of thyroid cancer, according to Endocrine Web. The American Cancer Society says the disease accounts for about 80% of all thyroid cancers.
Thyroid cancers start in the thyroid gland, a butterfly-shaped hormone-producing gland located in the neck just above the collarbone. The American Cancer Society adds that hormones produced by the thyroid influence nearly every metabolic process in your body, including heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature.
Papillary thyroid cancer tends to grow slowly and in its early stages may be asymptomatic. This type of thyroid cancer often appears to be limited to a single lobe of the two-lobed thyroid gland.
Endocrine Web states that often the first symptom of papillary thyroid cancer is a painless lump on the thyroid in the front of the neck.
Although painless, this lump may be large enough for an affected person to seek medical attention. Other symptoms include a sore throat, difficulty swallowing or breathing, or a hoarse voice.
These symptoms are often seen in the other three types of thyroid cancer. These cancers can also cause swollen lymph nodes in the neck.
This is because, according to Endocrine Web, thyroid cancers can often spread to the lymph nodes, which are located throughout the body and help fight infection. In about half of cases of papillary thyroid cancer, it spreads to the lymph nodes.
Thyroid cancer can also cause sore throats and can be a rare cause of neck pain.
Papillary thyroid cancer is three times more common in women than in men, according to Endocrine Web. The prognosis of the disease is also gendered, with females generally having a much better prognosis than males with the disease.
The age group most commonly affected by papillary thyroid cancer is 30 to 50 years old. The prognosis worsens for people over 55. The American Cancer Society states that papillary thyroid cancer is rarely fatal.
Endocrine Web adds that based on statistics, it is estimated that the 10-year survival rate for papillary thyroid cancer is around 90%. The prognosis for other thyroid cancers is less positive, with the rarest types, Hurthle cell cancer and medullary thyroid cancer, being the most difficult thyroid cancers to detect and treat.
Treatment for thyroid cancers includes surgery to remove as much of the cancer as possible, or treatments such as chemotherapy or targeted drug therapy to stop it from growing or spreading.
According to the American Cancer Society, the treatment chosen for someone with thyroid cancer generally depends on the type, location and stage, as well as the general health of the patient.