If you’re like most people, you don’t even think about your thyroid gland. It’s a small gland that looks like a butterfly in your throat. If you’re a guy, it’s just below your Adam’s apple. It might be tiny, but it packs a lot of power in that tiny package. Your thyroid regulates your metabolism. If it is overactive, you can lose a dramatic amount of weight in a short amount of time. If it’s not active enough, you will start gaining weight as your metabolism slows down to a snail’s pace. If you develop thyroid cancer, you’re headed for serious problems. Pay attention to fifteen facts you need to know about this frightening illness.
Symptoms of Thyroid Cancer May Feel Like a Cold
If you develop cancer in your thyroid gland, you may think you have the monster cold that won’t quit. You could have a cough that hangs on forever. Your lymph nodes may become swollen. Neck pain and swelling in your neck is common. Difficulty breathing is another sign that you may be dealing with more than a pesky virus. Pay attention to your body. If you continue to have symptoms for over a month, you need to see your doctor.
You May be at Risk of Developing Cancer of the Thyroid Gland
If you are a woman, you are three times more likely to develop this disease as compared to men. A family history of this condition, an iodine deficiency, and exposure to radiation that has targeted your throat could make you prone to developing cancer. If you have any of these risks, be proactive. Have your thyroid checked regularly and stay on the alert for the telltale signs that something is wrong with this essential gland.
Your Doctor Can Use a Variety of Resources to Diagnose Cancer of the Thyroid
If you suspect you have cancer of the thyroid gland, early diagnosis is key. Your doctor will evaluate your neck, request blood work, and recommend a biopsy. Ultrasound and other types of medical imaging are other useful tools.
Cancer of the Thyroid Affects Young People More Often
Cancer of the thyroid typically strikes younger people. Two-thirds of all cases affect individuals who are under the age of 55. Look at the age bracket of 15 to 29 for women. This type of cancer ranks at the top of the list.
There are Four Types of Cancer that Affect the Thyroid Gland
Cancer of the thyroid is not one-size-fits-all. There are four types, including follicular, anaplastic, medullary, and papillary. Anaplastic is the most aggressive and severe form of this type of cancer.
Surgery is the First Line of Attack
Doctors usually recommend surgery to treat cancer of the thyroid gland. Complete removal of the gland combined with other treatment options is most effective.
Cancer of the Thyroid Has a High Cure Rate
In most cases, cancer of the thyroid gland is treatable. Getting a cancer diagnosis is terrifying, but don’t lose hope if it strikes your thyroid gland. You have excellent chances of beating this disease.
You Can Check Yourself for Cancer of the Thyroid
In the same way that you can check your breasts, you can do the same with your thyroid gland. Run your fingers along the cartilage in your throat. If anything doesn’t feel right, see your doctor.
Expect to Take Medication for the Rest of Your Life After Cancer of the Thyroid
After cancer of the thyroid, especially if your gland is removed, you will need to take a prescription to manage your metabolism.
Radioactive Iodine is the Most Common Treatment Option
You are less likely to have radiation or chemotherapy for cancer of the thyroid. Radioactive iodine is recommended most often.
Make Your Health Your Top Priority After Cancer of the Thyroid
Once you have been treated for cancer of the thyroid, you have to come first. Rest when your body tells you too. Take walks to get exercise. Get the nutrition you need.
Keep Your Follow-Up Appointments
Stay vigilant after cancer of the thyroid. Check in regularly with your doctor to make sure cancer has not returned.
Keep a file with all your documents about your disease. It could help you in the future.
You Can Help Yourself to Stay Healthy
You can make choices to help you avoid cancer in the future. Stay away from tobacco. Limit how much alcohol you drink. Choose foods that are good for you and stay active.
Don’t Go it Alone
You need to have the support of others. Your medical team, friends, and family can help you when you are dealing with a serious illness like cancer of the thyroid.
No one wants a diagnosis of thyroid cancer. Being informed can help you to face it head-on. Know your body, know the risks, and be proactive. If cancer of the thyroid strikes you, go after it with help from your health care team