Thyroid Cancer Now #1 Cancer In America
Thyroid cancer is now the fastest growing cancer in America with rates three times higher in women than men. According to The American Cancer Society, this is an amazing statistic as overall, cancer rates in the Unites States are down 25% since 1991.
Thyroid Gland: What Is It?
The thyroid gland is located in the front of the neck, shaped like a butterfly. It produces hormones that enter the bloodstream and affect the metabolism, heart, brain, muscles and liver. Furthermore, it keeps the body functioning properly and effectively.
Thyroid Cancer Symptoms
The American Cancer Society lists the following symptoms:
- A lump in the neck, sometimes growing quickly
- Swelling in the neck
- Pain in the front of the neck, sometimes going up to the ears
- Hoarseness or other voice changes that do not go away
- Trouble swallowing
- Trouble breathing
- A constant cough that is not due to a cold
Women account for nearly three-quarters of cases. The exact cause is currently unknown. One hypothesis for this overall rate increase is due to better imaging technology which has increased the number of thyroid cancer cases diagnosed. Consequently, doctors can detect small thyroid nodules that might not have been found in the past
Protect Yourself With This Self Examination
Most noteworthy, doctors say most people diagnosed with this cancer have no known risk factors, or antecedent genetic factors. Most cases can be prevented with regular self-exams to catch thyroid changes in the earliest stages.
Protect yourself and perform this 5-step self-exam:
- Hold a mirror in your hand, focusing on the lower front area of your neck, above the collarbones and below the voice box (larynx).
- While focusing on this area in the mirror, tip your head back.
- Take a drink of water and swallow.
- As you swallow, look at your neck. Check for any bulges or protrusions in this area when you swallow. Reminder: Don’t confuse the Adam’s apple with the thyroid gland. It is located farther down the neck, closer to the collarbone. You may want to repeat this process several times.
- If you see any bulges or protrusions in this area, see your physician. You may have an enlarged gland or a nodule that should be checked to determine whether further evaluation is needed.
Health professionals estimate that 15 million Americans have undiagnosed indicators. Yet, the good news is that survival rates for patients is higher than for most other cancers. Furthermore, early detection provides more treatment options to you. Especially relevant, check your thyroid health with a thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) test, which can determine whether the gland is functioning normally.