Thyroid Cancer – What You Need To Know To Beat It
Medical lingo terms thyroid cancer simply as a malignant growth of the thyroid gland. Behind that placid definition lays a disease which is so dangerous and unpreventable that it leaves only one option out – early detection of thyroid cancer and prompt treatment. None would blink twice before agreeing that knowing thyroid cancer inside and out would help detecting its ominous presence early on, but rarely do you come by an article on this disease that is not heaped in medical jargon which all but the privileged few with stethoscopes around their necks could comprehend. And that leads to this piece of literature.
The thyroid gland is located on the neck under the Adam’s apple. It is a butterfly shaped gland whose primary duty is to produce some very essential hormones called the Thyroidal hormones. These hormones are fundamentally employed in regulating the metabolic activity of the body. The thyroid gland is also charged with absorbing almost all of the Iodine consumed in food, the deficiency of which causes IDD, also referred to as Goiter.
The importance of vitality of your thyroid gland being established let us try to unravel how thyroid cancer operates and how critical it could ultimately be. The first symptom that manifests itself in a patient is the development of a nodule in the neck around the thyroid region. This is often accompanied by a change in voice and unfortunately, pain. Although not all nodules that show up in the neck point to a thyroid cancer, it makes sense to undergo a test just to be sure.
Once the onslaught of thyroid cancer has begun, it will potentially spread to other nearby tissues in the neck. It could also spread to other remote parts of the body through the lymphatic fluid or blood. Thyroid cancer frequently spreads to the bones or even the lungs carried by the blood and the lymphatic fluids.
This paragraph would not exist if not for my gift of gab, since there is absolutely no way of preventing thyroid cancer. Of course, some risk factors have been identified as such which alters the probability of this disease but most of these are beyond the control of a normal person. The risk of thyroid cancer increases with age as with most other cancers. Women have been statistically found to be more vulnerable to this disease. If you have been exposed to nuclear radiation at a young age, the risk of thyroid cancer is magnified considerably. All these factors are obviously beyond the control of the patient and give no hope of identification of any preventive measures. Either you have it or, thankfully, you don’t.
Still, you could make sure that your diet includes a good measure of Iodine in the form of seafood, the deficiency of which seems to accentuate the risk of thyroid cancer.
The only valid pre-emptive protection against thyroid cancer is early detection, which is quite a critical factor in deciding whether you survive the cancer or not. A lump in the throat area, hoarseness or a pain in the neck could indicate thyroid cancer, along with an entire mélange of other diseases. It would be sensible not to wait for the symptoms to set the alarm bells ringing especially since these symptoms do not conclusively point to a case of thyroid cancer. The solution is to get some tests done professionally on a regular basis so that you can detect the cancer as soon as it starts getting it’s vice grip around your throat.
Detection of thyroid cancer is performed through a thyroid scan, which involves either ingestion or injection of a small quantity of radioactive material. After the radioactive material spreads in the body, a special camera is used to measure the radioactivity in the thyroid gland. Spots with substantially lesser radioactivity than the common level are identified as cold spots which may indicate a tumor. A biopsy of this region has to be performed to confirm the existence of cancer. Most people are turned off by the prospect of undergoing a painful biopsy, but there are also blood tests available which could detect thyroid cancer with a very high level of accuracy.
Thyroid cancer can be cured completely without any residual effects if it is detected early and treatments are started off promptly. To put it frankly, the primary factor that kills thyroid cancer patients is the inertia, the lethargy that prevents a perfectly healthy person from going out and getting himself checked up so that he would know what’s coming his way before it is too late. If it would be any consolation, many vendors like testcountry.com do provide test kits that enable testing for thyroid cancer from the comfort of your home. There goes another excuse for ignoring your own health.
The blood test for thyroid cancer
To check whether the thyroid gland is functioning correctly, you could conduct a test that analyses the level of Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) and Calcitonin. This is a very easy test that you could perform in your own home by ordering the TSH kit from testcountry.com.
If your TSH content is found to be higher than normal, then we can infer that your thyroid gland is producing too less hormones and that it is working below the optimal levels and if the TSH level is low, it means that your thyroid gland is producing too much thyroid hormone. Either way, a change in the level of TSH indicates that you are running a high risk of thyroid cancer and need to check up with your doctor right away. This test could work as a negative confirmation in that you can rest assured that you do not have thyroid cancer if the test shows that your TSH levels are normal. It is an excellent preliminary test that does not take much effort to perform.
Thyroid cancer can be cured through surgery. The process is executed by simply removing the part of the thyroid gland that has the tumor. In some cases, the whole of the thyroid gland has to be removed. Removal of the whole thyroid gland will force the patient to go on hormone pills for the rest of his life since there is simply no thyroid gland left to make these hormones naturally.
Talk about contradiction. Thyroid cancer which can be brought about by exposure to radioactivity can be cured by radioactive Iodine. The thyroid gland has an immense affinity towards Iodine and will absorb almost all of the Iodine in the blood stream. A small amount of radioactive Iodine is injected into the blood stream which gets accumulated in the thyroid gland and kills the cancerous cells along with some normal ones.
Chemotherapy alone cannot cure thyroid cancer completely. Chemotherapy is usually performed after surgery to make sure that the cancer does not spread to other locations. It may also be performed in cases where the RadioIodine therapy has failed to make an impact.
Chemotherapy, obviously, is not something you would look forward to. The very fact that Chemotherapy is being performed on a patient indicates that the cancer is a very advanced stage and there is very less hope – if any – for the person in question. As always, while dealing with a disease that we cannot prevent in any way, the only defenses is a timely detection and quick diagnosis. When the disease is detected early, the treatment is quick and easy. After treatment, you will have to be on the alert for any possible recurrence of the disease too. No one should have to succumb to a cancer like this which can be cured easily and surely if only it was only detected on time.