The thyroid gland is shaped like a butterfly and found inside the lower half of your neck. It is a gland that controls the metabolism of your body. The thyroid is a vital gland since it also controls many significant functions of the human body including energy use, heat production and oxygen consumption.
When the thyroid develops cells that are changing and multiplying then it may lead to formation of a tumor. Detecting the growth of this tumor early is one way of tackling thyroid cancer, it is one of the most treatable of cancers.
Thyroid cancer mostly affects women than men. It affects women in their 40s and 50s and men in their 60s and 70s.
Types of thyroid cancer
Experts have identified mainly four types of thyroid cancers.
Papillary thyroid cancer: This is the most common type of thyroid cancer and found in 80% of cases. It is slow-growing cancer, that can spread to the lymph nodes in the neck. This is very treatable and has a good chance for full recovery.
Follicular thyroid cancer: This is the next common type of thyroid cancer. It can spread to the lymph nodes and the blood vessels too.
Medullary cancer: This is found in around 4% of thyroid cancer cases. It can be easily found in the early stages because it produces a typical hormone called calcitonin, which show-up in blood tests.
Anaplastic thyroid cancer: This type is supposed to be the most dangerous since it spreads aggressively to other parts of the body. Though it is rare it is the hardest to give treatment.
Causes of thyroid cancer
You cannot pinpoint a single reason for the occurrence of thyroid cancer, though there are many risk factors. One cause can be inherited genetic syndrome, cancer may be the result of an abnormal gene that the patient had inherited from either of the parents.
The second cause may be due to iodine deficiency, especially if your diet lacks iodine, but today in most countries, iodine is added to salt and other foods. The third cause may be an exposure of your neck or head region to radiation, especially as a child.
Symptoms of thyroid cancer
In the beginning stages of thyroid cancer a patient may notice almost no symptoms at all. But as the tumor advances you will be besieged with all sorts of health problems and symptoms like
> Neck and throat pain
> Lump in the neck
> Difficulty swallowing
> Hoarsness to the sound
> Constant cough
Treatments for thyroid cancer
As mentioned earlier thyroid cancer is one of the cancer types that is very much treatable. Unlike other cancers it is treatable even in an advanced stage. Effective treatments using drugs and if required surgery gives good results and sometimes full recovery.