Thyroid Cancer Symptoms Explained As Park So-dam of 'Parasite' Diagnosed With Disease

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 condition during a routine health check.

Newsweek previously reported that Park has undergone 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 that the condition accounts for around 80 percent of all thyroid cancers.

Thyroid cancers originate in the thyroid gland, a butterfly-shaped hormone-producing gland in the neck just above the collarbone. The American Cancer Society adds that the hormones produced by the thyroid influence almost all of the metabolic processes in your body, including heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature.

Papillary thyroid cancer tends to grow slowly and during its early stages can be asymptomatic. This type of thyroid cancer often seems to be limited to just one lobe of the double-lobed thyroid gland.

Endocrine Web states that often the first symptom of papillary thyroid cancer is a painless lump on the thyroid at the front of the neck.

Though painless, this lump can be large enough for a sufferer to seek medical attention. Other symptoms include throat pain, difficulty swallowing or breathing, or a hoarse voice.

These symptoms are often seen in the other three kinds 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 around half of papillary thyroid cancer cases, it spreads to the lymph nodes.

Thyroid cancer can also cause throat pain and can be a rare cause of neck pain.

Papillary thyroid cancer is three times more common in women than men, according to Endocrine Web. The prognosis of the condition is also gender-related, with female sufferers typically having a much better forecast than males with the disease.

The age group most commonly affected by papillary thyroid cancer are 30 to 50-year-olds. The prognosis becomes worse for sufferers above 55 years of age. The American Cancer Society says that papillary thyroid cancer is rarely fatal.

Endocrine Web adds that from statistics it is estimated that the 10-year survival rate of papillary thyroid cancer is around 90 percent. The prognosis for other thyroid cancers is less positive with the rarer types, Hurthle cell cancer and medullary thyroid cancer, being the hardest thyroid cancers to find 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 a thyroid cancer sufferer usually depends on the type, its location and stage, and the general health of the patient.

Park So Dam
Park So-dam, South Korean star of the Oscar-winning movie "Parasite" at a press conference in February 2020. The actress has been diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer. Han Myung-Gu/GETTY