What is Thyroid Cancer
Thyroid cancer is the presence of cancerous cells within or around the thyroid gland. This gland is located in the neck and is responsible for basic metabolic function within the human body.
What Causes this Cancer?
Thyroid cancer causes are largely unknown. Exposure to a great deal of radiation may increase the chance of contracting thyroid cancer. There is also evidence to suggest the presence of a genetic link with thyroid cancer, so a family history of this cancer may indicate higher risks. However, thyroid cancer can affect anyone at any time, so it’s important to be prepared.
Diagnosing Thyroid Cancer and Symptoms
Thyroid cancer is usually diagnosed when a patient begins to recognise undeniable symptoms. Symptoms associated with thyroid disorders may include chronic pain in the neck, the ears, or the muscles and joints of the body. Because the thyroid is located quite close to nerve bundles in the neck, the presence of a tumour can cause serious pain. Thyroid cancer can also cause patients to have trouble swallowing, skin tenderness on the neck, trouble breathing, a hoarse voice, or a frequent cough that never seems to fade. Voice change or problems with eating and drinking are often some of the first signs of thyroid cancer. Unfortunately, symptoms are not always present with thyroid cancer. This is why many physicians suggest regular self-examinations.
A self-examination for thyroid cancer involves the systematic palpation of the neck. A gentle massaging motion can help patients discover enlargements in the thyroid or the presence of an unidentified mass within the neck. If these signs are discovered, a person should contact a physician immediately. The doctor will usually perform a biopsy of the thyroid, removing a small sample of tissue and testing it for the presence of cancerous cells. If cancer is discovered, treatment options will be evaluated and recommended.
Risks and Treatment Options
If thyroid cancer is left untreated, serious health problems may occur throughout the body. Treatment for thyroid cancer is similar to other treatments for cancer. Surgery, radiation therapy or chemotherapy can be used to attack the cancerous cells and kill them.
Thyroid cancer can be a scary diagnosis, but there are many people living who have beaten thyroid cancer. The key to diagnosing this disease quickly is paying careful attention to symptoms, discussing these symptoms with a physician, and performing regular self-examinations to identify any abnormalities.
If you have questions or concerns about thyroid symptoms see your local doctor who will arrange for you to see a thyroid surgeon.
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