Thyroid cancer is the cancerous growth of the thyroid gland. Thyroid gland, also known as thyroid, is one of the largest endocrine glands in the human body, situated in the neck. Thyroid gland is butterfly shaped and located below the Adam’s apple. This important gland controls the way the body uses energy, makes proteins and body’s overall sensitivity to other hormones. It is estimated that only in the United States doctors diagnose 37.000 new cases of thyroid cancer each year. Women are at the greatest risk of developing different health problems associated with a thyroid gland. Thyroid cancer is most likely to occur in people older than 30 years of age, and it is more dangerous for older patients.
Causes of thyroid cancer
The exact cause of thyroid cancer is still a mystery. Scientists are unable to explain why do some persons get thyroid cancer while others not. Certain risk factors can make the people more likely to develop any type of cancer, including the thyroid cancer. For example, people exposed to high levels of radioactivity are more likely to develop this serious disease. Thyroid cancer may also be associated with changes in a certain gene. If this is the case, thyroid cancer may run in the families. However, this happens in a very small number of cases. Thyroid cancer seems to be more likely in people who do not get enough iodine in their diet.
Symptoms of thyroid cancer
In most of the cases, no symptoms will be present in the early stages of the disease. Symptoms of thyroid cancer usually develop gradually, as the cancer grows. The symptoms include a lump or nodule at the front side of the neck, usually below the Adam’s apple, where the thyroid gland is situated. Patients may have difficulty speaking and have swollen lymph nodes. Hoarseness, difficulty swallowing and difficulty breathing are also among the common symptoms. In many cases, patients will feel pain in the throat and neck.
Treatment of thyroid cancer
There are many successful treatment options for thyroid cancer. The right choice of the treatment will depend on the type and stage of the disease. In many cases, doctors will recommend a combination of various different therapies. Most commonly used treatment methods include surgery, the use of radioactive iodine, hormonal treatment, external radiation or chemotherapy. However, surgery is the most common treatment that involves removing a part of the thyroid. After the surgery, patent will normally have to take thyroid hormone pills to replace the natural hormone.