Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month is observed every September as a reminder of the importance of early detection, understanding the causes, recognizing symptoms, and exploring available treatment options for thyroid cancer.
Thyroid cancer originates in the thyroid gland, a butterfly-shaped organ located in the neck, which is responsible for producing hormones that regulate heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature and weight.
While the exact causes of thyroid cancer are not fully understood, several risk factors have been identified. Thyroid cancer is more common in women than in men, with the female-to-male ratio being approximately 3:1. The risk of thyroid cancer increases with age, and it is often diagnosed in individuals between the ages of 30 and 60.
Exposure to ionizing radiation, particularly during childhood, increases the risk of thyroid cancer. A family history of thyroid cancer can elevate an individual’s risk, suggesting a genetic predisposition. In regions with iodine deficiency or excessive iodine intake, the risk of thyroid cancer may be slightly higher.
Thyroid cancer can manifest in various ways and might not cause any initial symptoms. Some common symptoms and signs to watch out for include a painless lump or swelling in the neck; hoarseness or voice changes, difficulty swallowing, neck pain which can radiate to the ears; and enlarged lymph nodes in the neck. Consult your doctor for a proper diagnosis if you observe any of these symptoms. Do not self-diagnose.
Thyroid cancer is a relatively rare but treatable form of cancer that requires early detection and appropriate treatment. Regular check-ups and thyroid self-exams can aid in the early identification of potential issues, leading to better outcomes for individuals diagnosed with thyroid cancer. By spreading awareness and knowledge about this condition, we can contribute to improved care and support for those affected by thyroid cancer.