Thyroid cancer is a type of cancer that affects the thyroid, a small gland located at the base of the neck. It is estimated that more than 56,000 people will be diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2020, making it one of the most common types of cancers in the United States. Although it is not as deadly as some other forms of cancer, it can still have serious effects on a persons health and quality of life.
The cause of thyroid cancer is unknown but certain factors may increase a persons risk. These include family history, radiation exposure (such as from medical treatments or nuclear power plants), and certain genetic mutations. Women are more likely to develop thyroid cancer than men and people who are over the age of 50 are at an increased risk. Additionally, those who live in areas with higher levels of air pollution may also be at an increased risk for developing this type of cancer.
The symptoms associated with thyroid cancer can vary depending on the type and stage of the disease. Generally speaking, however, they include swelling or lump in the neck area near the Adams apple (the lump may be painless); difficulty swallowing; hoarseness; and changes in voice quality or pitch. Other symptoms may include fatigue, weight loss, coughing up blood and/or pain in the neck area. If any one or more of these symptoms are present then it is important to seek medical attention right away.
Diagnosing thyroid cancer involves several tests such as imaging scans (CT scan or MRI), biopsy (to take tissue samples for further study), blood tests (to measure hormone levels) and possibly surgery to remove all or part of the affected gland if necessary. Treatment options depend on a variety of factors including age, overall health status and size/stage/type of tumor but generally involve some combination of medication, radiation therapy and/or surgery to remove all or part of the affected gland(s).
Although there is no sure-fire way to prevent thyroid cancer from occurring there are certain steps that can be taken to reduce ones risk such as avoiding unnecessary radiation exposure (e.g., x-rays) when possible; limiting exposure to environmental pollutants; eating a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables; exercising regularly; reducing stress levels; avoiding smoking; and getting regular check-ups with your doctor so any abnormalities can be detected early on before they become more serious problems down the road.
In conclusion, while there is no sure-fire way to prevent thyroid cancer its occurrence can be reduced by taking certain precautions such as avoiding unnecessary radiation exposure when possible, eating a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables, exercising regularly and reducing stress levels among other things. Additionally, early detection through regular check-ups with your doctor is essential since this type of cancer often has few noticeable symptoms until it has progressed significantly which makes treatment much more difficult if left unchecked for too long.