Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month – Understanding, Recognizing, and Managing

September is globally recognized as Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month, a time dedicated to spreading knowledge about this insidious yet common form of cancer. This article aims to shed light on what thyroid cancer is, its prevalence, the available treatments, and the significance of Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month. We’ll also discuss some useful apps that can assist individuals in managing a cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Understanding Thyroid Cancer

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located in the neck, responsible for producing hormones that regulate heart rate, body temperature, metabolism, and calcium levels in the blood. When cells in the thyroid gland grow uncontrollably, thyroid cancer occurs.

In 2023, an estimated 43,720 people in the US were diagnosed with thyroid cancer, resulting in 2,120 deaths. The disease disproportionately affects women more than men, with a ratio of 3:1. However, mortality rates are similar amongst both genders.

There are four main types of thyroid cancer: papillary, follicular, medullary, and anaplastic. Papillary thyroid cancer is the most common type, accounting for 85% of diagnoses, and has high cure rates if detected early. Follicular thyroid cancer accounts for approximately 10% of cases and grows slowly but is highly treatable when caught early. Medullary thyroid cancer develops in C cells and can be detected through blood tests. Anaplastic thyroid cancer is rare, aggressive, affects older individuals, and is difficult to treat.

Recognizing Thyroid Cancer

Early detection of thyroid cancer significantly enhances the chances of successful treatment. Regular self-checks of the neck are crucial for early detection. If you identify any lumps, it’s essential to seek an expert evaluation immediately. Here are the key symptoms to watch out for:

  • A lump or mass in the neck
  • A sensation of needing to swallow something
  • Persistent cough
  • Changes in voice
  • Fatigue
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Treating Thyroid Cancer

Thyroid surgery is the primary treatment for thyroid cancer. Different operations for thyroid cancer are determined by tumor size and lymph node involvement. High-volume centers with specialized thyroid surgeons provide better outcomes for thyroid cancer patients. Other treatments may include radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted drug therapy, and hormone therapy to replace vital hormones produced by the thyroid gland.

Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month

Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month, held every September, was initiated to raise awareness about the disease, promote early detection, and support those affected. Recognized in 56 countries, including the USA and Europe, it uses a dedicated ribbon color combination of blue, pink, and teal.

During this month, various organizations and events contribute to spreading information about the disease:

  • Organizations:
    • The American Thyroid Association
    • The Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Association
    • The American Cancer Society
    • The British Thyroid Foundation
    • The Thyroid Foundation of Canada
    • Local awareness and fundraising events
    • Educational seminars and webinars
    • Social media campaigns using dedicated hashtags
    • Ribbon-selling campaigns for fundraising and awareness
    • Community conversations and support groups

    Individuals from all walks of life are encouraged to get involved in these activities to help spread awareness and support those affected by thyroid cancer.

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Alex Koliada, PhD

Alex Koliada, PhD

Alex Koliada, PhD, is a well-known doctor. He is famous for his studies of ageing, genetics and other medical conditions. He works at the Institute of Food Biotechnology and Genomics NAS of Ukraine. His scientific researches are printed by the most reputable international magazines. Some of his works are: Differences in the gut Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes ratio across age groups in healthy Ukrainian population [BiomedCentral.com]; Mating status affects Drosophila lifespan, metabolism and antioxidant system [Science Direct]; Anise Hyssop Agastache foeniculum Increases Lifespan, Stress Resistance, and Metabolism by Affecting Free Radical Processes in Drosophila [Frontiersin].
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