Since 2000, ThyCa: Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Association has been sponsoring Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month every September. People and organizers from 56 countries around the globe take part in this yearly tradition to help promote early detection for thyroid cancer and increase access to research to develop a cure.
What is the Thyroid?
Your thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland in the back of the throat that produces thyroid hormones (TH), which are responsible for regulating many of the body’s daily functions such as heart rate, blood pressure, body temperate and weight. Every tissue and organ in the human body is affected by the thyroid.
When too little or too much TM is produced, your health can be affected.
Hypothyroidism occurs when too little TM is produced. This causes your metabolism to slow and can lead to weight gain, fatigue and depression.
Thyroidism occurs when too much TM is produced, speeding up the body and causing faster heartrate, weight loss and tremors.
What is Thyroid Cancer?
While experts are unsure what causes thyroid cancer, it occurs when the cells in the thyroid mutate, growing and multiplying rapidly. As these abnormal cells accumulate, they can form a tumor or invade nearby tissue, spreading to other parts of the body.
Thyroid cancers are classified based on the type of cells found within the tumor. The four most common are:
- Papillary thyroid cancer
- Follicular thyroid cancer
- Anaplastic thyroid cancer
- Medullary thyroid cancer
Early Signs of Thyroid Cancer
Identifying thyroid cancer easy is key, as the sooner you seek treatment the better the results. Early warning signs include:
- A lump that can be felt through the skin
- Changes to your voice
- Difficulty swallowing
- Pain in your throat and neck
- Swollen lymph nodes in your neck