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About Thyroid Cancer

The thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland at the base of the throat, near the windpipe. It makes hormones that regulate the way your body uses energy and that help your body work normally. There are four types of thyroid cancer - papillary, follicular, medullary and anaplastic thyroid cancer. Papillary is the most common while anaplastic is the most aggressive and difficult to cure. Other types of thyroid cancers are usually curable if detected early.
Thyroid cancer are seen in women more than men.

Causes

Exact Cause of thyroid Cancer is not known however following are the conditions that increases the chances of thyroid cancer:

  • Benign thyroid disease runs in families. If you have this type of condition in your family, then you have an increased risk of thyroid cancer. The risk is higher if more than one family member is affected.
  • People exposed to radiation has higher chances of developing thyroid cancer.
  • People who have a family history of thyroid cancer runs a greater risk of developing thyroid cancer.
  • An inherited abnormal gene or a bowel condition called FAP.
  • Being overweight.
    People who have acromegaly have an increased risk of thyroid cancer. Acromegaly is a rare condition where the body over produces growth hormone The risk of thyroid cancer is higher in women with diabetes compared to women who do not have diabetes. This increase in risk is not seen in men who have diabetes. 

Symptoms

The most common symptom of thyroid cancer is a neck lump or nodule. If the tumor is large, it may cause other symptoms which would include:

  • Neck or facial pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Cough unrelated to cold
  • Hoarseness or voice change
  • Having any of these symptoms does not mean it is cancer, but if one or more of them is noticed for more than two weeks, then a doctor must be seen and an immediate health screening is a must.

How to prevent?

Most Thyroid cancers cannot be prevented. However if thyroid cancer runs in your family or if you above the above defined symptoms it is advisable to consult your doctor.