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Thyroid is a gland present in the throat near the voice box. It is a gland of the endocrine system. The endocrine system produces hormones which are directly secreted into the body and help in regulating the functions of the body. The growth of cancerous cells in this thyroid gland is called Thyroid Cancer. The article talks about the types, risk factors, and symptoms of thyroid cancer.
Functions of Thyroid Gland:
As we read above, thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland at the base of the throat. It has a left and right lobe. The isthmus is the part of the thyroid gland where the lobes connect. The thyroid makes the hormone thyroxine, which helps the body regulate:
- blood pressure
- heart rate
- body temperature
- body weight
With such vital functions to be performed, having a growth of cancerous cells in this gland would lead to grave inconveniences to a patient.
7 Signs and Symptoms of Thyroid Cancer:
There are no signs to distinguish thyroid cancer at earlier stages. The problem with this cancer is that its symptoms are felt only after the cancer has progressed to some extent. The following are the symptoms of Thyroid Cancer:
1. Feeling of a Lump in the Throat:
One feels like something is stuck in the throat persistently. No amount of water is going to help you get rid off this lump. It interferes with your tasks of swallowing also. when this happens, your time to see the doctor has arrived.
2. Cough due to Thyroid Cancer:
Coughing is a very common problem. One gets a chronic cough as a sign of asthma, lung cancer and various other respiratory diseases. Thus chronic cough is one to keep a close eye on. It may not only be a sign of thyroid cancer but also indicative of various other serious diseases.
3. Hoarseness due to Thyroid Cancer:
This is yet another symptom which is easily noticeable. You notice the texture of your voice becoming thicker. The sound slowly becomes hurtful to the ears of others. Such a change is gradual and needs a lot of observation to be identified for a symptom.
4. Pain in the Neck:
One will naturally experience pain in the neck due to this cancer. The cells are abnormal growth on the gland. A continuous pain will effect the throat and will make it difficult to speak and swallow.
5. Swelling in the Neck:
Your neck will not swell unless and until you have a severe problem like goiter or thyroid cancer. This is an easily identifiable indicator of your cancer.
6. Difficulty in breathing:
Thyroid cancer is going to make it difficult for you to inhale and exhale because the cancer cells try to block the passage of air too.
7. Difficulty in Swallowing:
It will become extremely painful for you to swallow your food as well as liquid. This activity will lead to excruciating pain. So much so that often people prefer starving to tolerating the pain that comes with eating or drinking.
Types of Thyroid Cancer:
The four main types of thyroid cancer are:
1. Papillary Thyroid Cancer:
This cancer is a very common type of thyroid cancer. People suffering with thyroid cancer usually have papillary thyroid cancer in nearly 80% cases. It grows very slowly and spreads to the lymph nodes in the neck. the chances of recovery from this type of thyroid cancer are very high.
2. Follicular Thyroid Cancer:
This type of thyroid cancer is seen to affect nearly 10-15% people. It spreads to your lymph nodes as well as into your blood vessels.
3. Medullary Cancer:
This cancer too is found in 10% of cases amongst people suffering with thyroid cancer. This type of cancer is caused due to genetic factors and can affect other family members too. It’s also more likely to be found at an early stage because it produces a hormone called calcitonin, which doctors keep an eye out for in blood test results.
4. Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer:
It is the most severe and aggressive kind of thyroid cancer. It is very rare and the most difficult to treat.
Causes of Thyroid Cancer:
The reason as to why thyroid cancer happens to people is clearly unknown and indeterminable. Therefore there are only a few risk factors that could possibly be responsible for this disease.
Risk Factors of Thyroid Cancer:
1. Inherited Genetic Syndromes:
In most cases, the medullary cancer is caused due to genetic factors. The DNA passed to us from our preceding generations could carry this problem and be subsequently passed to us.
2. Iodine Deficiency leading to Thyroid Cancer:
If your body is not getting enough of iodine from the salt you eat, the chances are that you may contract this disease. However, ion most countries today, iodized salt is sold in market and so this is a rare risk factor to lead to thyroid cancer.
3. Gender as a cause of Thyroid Cancer:
Men are less prone to contracting this kind of cancer than women. If you are a woman, the chances of you having thyroid cancer are high.
4. Having a history of Breast Cancer:
Thyroid is a gland that produces thyroxine hormone which performs various functions like regulating metabolism, body temperature, etc. With all these functions to perform, if this hormone is produced in excessive quantity of less quantity, it may lead to various problems in our body. One such study related the hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism to breast cancer. Though there is no cause and effect relationship that can be established. Conversely, women with a history of breast cancer have higher chances of also being affected with thyroid cancer.
5. Being Exposed to Radiation:
The people who are constantly exposed to radiation rays are an increased risk at being affected with cancer in general. The same risk factor also applies to the cancer of thyroid gland. Radiation causes free radicals to be produced in the body. These radicals could lead to formation of cancerous cells and affect different body parts.
Treatment of Thyroid Cancer:
Most types of thyroid cancer are treatable. The one that is difficult to treat is very rare. Thus, a person can expect the cancer of thyroid to be well treated and can resume normal lifestyle. Check out the best Cancer Hospitals in New York for the best treatment that could be offered to you by experts from this field. It can be treated with surgery at any stage of detection. Meanwhile, one can follow a thyroid diet to stay healthy.
It is important that you notice the changes in your health for any of the above symptoms. This should be especially done when you know that you may fall in one of the above categories of risk factors. An early identification of this cancer will lead to easy and less painful treatment.