Januvia (generic: sitagliptin), a widely-prescribed diabetes drug, has recently been associated with thyroid cancer. This disease occurs when cells in the thyroid gland mutate, multiply rapidly, and grow uncontrollably. This article discusses how medical professionals believe Januvia causes thyroid cancer, and the different types of the disease that occur in patients taking Januvia.
How Can Januvia Cause Thyroid Cancer?
Although the issue of what causes Januvia thyroid cancer is still hotly debated by medical professionals around the country, like other forms of cancer, changes in the cells seems to play a critical role in causing the disease. Cell mutations leading to Januvia thyroid cancer may include inherited traits, as well as those that occur naturally over time. However, new research has determined that diabetic patients who take Januvia are more likely to develop thyroid cancer than those who take other diabetes drugs.
Specifically, thyroid cancer begins when cells in the thyroid gland mutate, grow out of control, and multiply rapidly. The thyroid cells do not die like normal cells, thus accumulating and forming a cancerous tumor. The abnormal cells then invade nearby tissues and spread throughout the patient’s body.
Types of Thyroid Cancer
There are four major types of thyroid cancer:
- Papillary Carcinoma – Variety of thyroid cancer that most often affects women of childbearing age. Papillary carcinoma is the most common form of thyroid cancer, and is characterized by its slow growth. Fortunately, papillary carcinoma is also the most treatable form of thyroid cancer.
- Medullary Carcinoma – Abnormal growth of non-thyroid cells that inhabit the thyroid gland. Many cases of medullary carcinoma may be inherited, and have been linked to various genetic mutations. This type of thyroid cancer requires different therapies than other types of the disease.
- Follicular Carcinoma – Accounting for approximately 10% of all cases of thyroid cancer, follicular carcinoma has the highest recurrence rate of any type of the disease. Long-term prognosis of follicular carcinoma depends on the amount of vascular invasion the patient has experienced.
- Anaplastic Carcinoma (aka Giant and Spindle Cell Cancer) – Rare form of thyroid cancer that spreads quickly and is unresponsive to radioiodine therapy. Anaplastic carcinoma is considered the most deadly type of thyroid cancer.
Click here to learn more about Januvia thyroid cancer causes from the American Cancer Society.