1-Things that Increase Thyroid Cancer Risks Thyroid Cancer
Avoid radiation exposure, especially while young. The best known primary Thyroid Cancer Risks are excessive exposure to radiation, particularly during childhood. The cells of the thyroid gland (and most other glands) are very sensitive to x-rays and other forms of radiation, and easily destroyed or mutated if exposed to it.
- X-rays and CT scans should be minimized in children and only used if absolutely needed to diagnose a threatening condition or disease.
- When x-rays or other radiological studies are necessary, the lowest dose of radiation that still provides a clear picture should always be used.
- Other sources of radiation to be aware to avoid thyroid Cancer Risks of include living near nuclear power plants (within 10 miles) and very frequently flying at high altitudes in commercial airplanes.
Don’t become iodine deficient. Iodine deficiency isn’t very common in most developed countries because the mineral is typically added to table salt, but deficiency can and does lead to an increased Thyroid Cancer Risks in other less developed regions of the world. The regions most at risk are places inland without much access to fresh fish and/or shellfish, which contain lots of iodine.
- The thyroid gland needs a steady supply of iodine to function properly and make it’s hormones, such as thyroxine.
- Iodine deficiency causes the thyroid gland to swell initially (known as goiter), but chronic (long-term) deficiency promotes nodules and increases theThyroid Cancer Risks.
If you avoid common table salt due to hypertension (chronically high blood pressure), then make sure to eat fish / shellfish regularly or take an iodine supplement.
Get a blood test for gene mutations. Another major Thyroid Cancer Risks is having a gene mutation that causes familial medullary thyroid cancer (MTC). A blood test can be performed at your doctor’s office to look for the inherited mutation on the RET gene. If it’s found, the most common recommendation is to remove the thyroid gland completely, which effectively prevents the possibility of cancer starting.
- Removing the thyroid in children who carry the mutated gene likely prevents aggressive cancer that carries a high risk of being fatal.
- People who have the gene mutation have a greater than 90% chance of developing thyroid cancer.
- If one parent has the gene mutation, their children have a 50% chance of inheriting it.
- Once MTC is discovered within a family, all the other family members (especially children) should be tested for the mutated RET gene.
- Mutations in the RET gene can also trigger papillary thyroid cancer (PTC), which is a little different than MTC.
See your doctor for regular thyroid screenings. Since thyroid cancer is relatively slow growing, there’s often time to catch it in its very early stages. Most cases of thyroid cancer are found when people see their doctors because of neck lumps or nodules that they notice. Even still, the good news is that about 90% of thyroid nodules are benign growths and not cancerous, so treatment is not needed.
- Many cases of thyroid cancer can be found early due to advances in technology, such as more sensitive forms of of x-ray, ultrasound, MRI and CT scans.
- Some cancer doctors (oncologists) recommend self-exams at least twice yearly and medical screening exams once yearly.
- Take a look at the front of your neck in a mirror and try to notice any swelling or lumpiness. Feel your neck above your larynx (which is made of cartilage) for any hard nodules or lumps.
Be especially cautious if you’re a female of childbearing age. You can’t “prevent” your gender or age, but be aware that women are 3x more likely than men at thyroid Cancer Risks and about 65% of cases occur during childbearing years (20-45 years). If you are in this demographic, then you should be a little more vigilant with self-exams and getting your yearly screening for thyroid cancer (as well as breast and cervical cancers).
- Aside from nodules or a swollen neck, other potential signs and symptoms of thyroid cancer include: changes to your voice (increasing hoarseness), difficulty swallowing, neck / throat pain, swollen lymph nodes, sudden weight gain or loss, feeling too hot or cold while indoors.
- If imaging (ultrasound, CT scan, PET scan) suggests thyroid cancer, your doctor may suggest taking a biopsy (tissue sample) of the gland through a long thin needle to examine under a microscope and make sure.
2-Getting Treatment for reducing Thyroid Cancer risks
Get surgery for low Thyroid Cancer Risks. The vast majority of people with low-risk thyroid cancer (meaning it hasn’t spread beyond the gland) can be cured by surgically removing it. Removing the entire gland is called a thyroidectomy, whereas a lobectomy refers to removing the section which has the cancer growing in it.
- Depending on the size and extent of the cancer, surgeons can use several different techniques which are much less invasive than they used to be — so the Thyroid Cancer Risks are fewer and the recovery is quicker.
- As noted above, surgical removal is also used as a preventative strategy if there’s evidence of a gene mutation or hereditary condition that significantly increases the likelihood of thyroid cancer.
- Removing any enlarged lymph nodes in your neck is commonly done along with thyroidectomy.
- If you have your thyroid removed, you’ll need to take medication (Levothroid, Synthroid) for the rest of your life to compensate for the lack of thyroid hormones being made in your body.
Have radioactive iodine therapy if the cancer has spread. If your thyroid Cancer Risks are considered higher, meaning it’s likely spread (metastasized) beyond the boundaries of the gland, then your doctor will likely recommend radioactive iodine therapy after a thyroidectomy. Radioactive iodine is absorbed by both normal and cancerous thyroid cells, which destroys them and prevents the cancer coming back.
- Typically, just 1-2 two doses of radioactive iodine (given as a liquid or a pill) are needed to destroy all remaining thyroid tissue.
- Some types of thyroid cancer cells (such as medullary thyroid and anaplastic thyroid carcinomas) don’t absorb radioactive iodine well, so the therapy is not recommended.
- Side effects are fairly common and usually include: nausea, dry mouth / eyes, reduced sense of smell and neck / chest pain.
Consider radiation therapy for recurrent thyroid tumors. Despite surgery and radioactive iodine, some stubborn and aggressive forms of thyroid cancer return and need to be dealt with by other methods. Radiation therapy is an option for recurrent thyroid tumors and involves using a machine that aims high-energy beams at precise points on your neck / thyroid area.source