You’re probably saying to yourself,”I didn’t know September is Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month?” Well, don’t worry, most people don’t know this. Although less commonly discussed, this is a growing disease in the United States for a number of reasons known and unknown to the medical community. In honor of this month, we take a look at who is at risk, how to diagnose and why you should share this with friends.
Who is at risk?
(Info courtesy of Thyca.org)
- Thyroid cancer is the fastest increasing cancer in both men and women. It is the most common endocrine cancer.
- Thyroid cancer is one of the few cancers that has increased in incidence rates over recent years. It occurs in all age groups from children through seniors.
- The American Cancer Society estimates that there will be about 60,220 new cases of thyroid cancer in the U.S. in 2013. Of these new cases, about 45,310 will occur in women and about 14,910 will occur in men. About 1,850 people (1,040 women and 810 men) will die of thyroid cancer in 2013.
- Many patients, especially in the early stages of thyroid cancer, do not experience symptoms. However, as the cancer develops, symptoms can include a lump or nodule in the front of the neck, hoarseness or difficulty speaking, swollen lymph nodes, difficulty swallowing or breathing, and pain in the throat or neck.
- There are several types of thyroid cancer: papillary, follicular, medullary, anaplastic, and variants.
– See more at: http://www.thyca.org/
How to diagnose?
Many will not notice symptoms until it is far along in stage because it is silent and often missed under regular exams. For women, it is most likely diagnosed at a routine OBGYN exam. For men, this can be during a routine exam or through feeling discomfort, but for those who do no question their physicians sometimes it can slide by since awareness is not commonly spoken of for Thyroid Cancer patients. Here are common methods for diagnosing the disease…
- A physical exam to feel your neck for thyroid lumps and lymph node swelling
- Blood tests, including a test to measure the level of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) in your body
- Imaging tests, such as ultrasound of the neck to help determine the nature of the nodule and to look for enlarged lymph nodes
- Ultrasound-guided needle biopsy to remove cells from your thyroid and examine them using a microscope to look for cancer
Why you should share awareness?
The awareness should be shared with your loved ones because there is little awareness at this time. It is silently growing in our population without knowing the cause or prevention methods…all of which comes with research, funding and more. So, sport your teal, blue & pink in support this month for the thousands of patients and survivors living with the disease, the scars, the stress and the memories of Thyroid Cancer.
Do you or someone you know have Thyroid Cancer? We recommend the official Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Association website (http://www.thyca.org) which is where we’ve pulled our facts from. Here you will find Thyroid Cancer Support Groups, Treatment Facts and Events.