Thyroid Cancer Awareness
Thyroid cancer occurs in the cells of the thyroid, a gland located at the base of your neck. There are multiple types of thyroid cancer, ranging in severity and aggressiveness, but are all treatable.
About The Thyroid Gland
Consisting of 2 lobes on either side of the windpipe, the thyroid gland works by releasing hormones that help your body function properly. These hormones are:
- Triiodothyronine (T3)
T3 and T4 work to regulate the body's metabolic rate. An excess of these hormones will make you feel overactive and can contribute to sudden weight loss. Conversely, if you lack an appropriate amount of these hormones, you will likely feel sluggish and gain weight. Calcitonin helps to control the blood's calcium levels, which helps keep your bones strong.
Types of Thyroid Cancer
There are 4 main types of thyroid cancer:
- Papillary carcinoma - As the most common type, it usually affects people under 40, and particularly women.
- Follicular carcinoma - This type typically affects older adults and accounts for 15% of thyroid cancer diagnoses.
- Medullary thyroid carcinoma - Unlike other types of thyroid cancer, this type can run in families and accounts for about 5-8% of cases.
- Anaplastic thyroid carcinoma - This type is the rarest and most aggressive type of thyroid cancer, and typically affects people over the age of 60.
Symptoms of Thyroid Cancer
Though thyroid cancer doesn’t typically show any signs early on, here are some symptoms to look out for:
- A lump in your neck you can easily feel through the skin
- Swollen lymph nodes in your neck
- Pain in your neck or throat
- Voice changes, including increased hoarseness
- Difficulty swallowing
If you experience any of these symptoms persistently or are concerned about your health, speak with your doctor.
Early detection is always crucial in treating cancer.
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