Thyroid Cancer – What is that we need to know?
An increasing number of Malaysians are diagnosed with thyroid cancer each year. Being diagnosed with thyroid cancer can be overwhelming. Often patients will find themselves being overloaded with a flood of information, some of which may be accurate, while others can be myths which are confusing.
When thyroid cancer is detected and treated early, the chances of a successful treatment is better. People who are at higher than average risk should speak to their doctor about a personal plan for testing.
There are different types of thyroid cancer, but most of these cancers can be treated successfully. Most early thyroid cancers are found when patients see their doctors because of neck lumps or nodules they noticed. If you have unusual symptoms such as a lump or swelling in your neck, you should see your doctor right away.
Thyroid Facts – Get to know this treatable form of cancer:
The thyroid gland is located at the lower part of the front of the neck. The function of the thyroid gland is to produce hormones that regulate the body’s metabolism. According to the American Cancer Society, thyroid cancer is most often diagnosed between the ages of 25 and 65. Two to four times more women than men are diagnosed with thyroid cancer.
Of the four main types of thyroid cancer — papillary, follicular, medullary and anaplastic — papillary carcinoma is the most common type. It usually grows slowly and is often curable. Other, less common types of thyroid cancer are more aggressive and can be fatal.
Exposure to high levels of radiation in childhood has been identified as a cause of thyroid cancer. Thyroid cancer often appears as a small lump or swelling on the front of the neck. These small lumps, called nodules, are fairly common and are usually benign. Other symptoms of thyroid cancer can include hoarseness, difficulty swallowing, an enlarged neck node or a persistent cough.
Treating Thyroid Cancer
Typically a surgery is the recommended treatment, where a malignant thyroid nodule is removed to manage the thyroid cancer. In some cases, the entire thyroid gland may also need to be removed. Some patients may also need radioiodine therapy, in which the patient ingests a radioactive iodine solution. Thyroid cells absorb the radioactive iodine, but most other cells in the body do not absorb any of the radioactive iodine. Depending on the treatment, some patients may also need to take thyroid hormone pills to replace the hormones that the thyroid gland no longer produces.
For the majority of patients, life after thyroid cancer treatment can return to normal. In cases where only part of the thyroid was removed, no further treatment is usually necessary.
There is a misperception among some people that certain types of greens increase your risk of thyroid cancer. Like most other diseases, greens seem to have a mildly protective effect of preventing thyroid cancer.
Thyroid patients are monitored periodically for life. During this monitoring the patient may have radioactive iodine scans, blood tests or ultrasound.
You can absolutely live a long, fulfilling life without your thyroid, or living with only part of your thyroid. Once you have recovered from the effects of thyroid surgery, you will usually be able to do anything that you could do prior to surgery.
Thyroid cancer can be treated with early detection and treatment. Get protected from as low as RM1.50 a day.