Thyroid cancer occurs most commonly in elderly persons. Because it is a type of cancer that does not develop over time, the early symptoms may be so vague that they are ignored, resulting in delayed diagnosis and ultimately poor prognosis. Thyroid cancer occurs when the thyroid gland is inflamed by the thyroid cells called the follicle stimulating hormone. When this happens, the gland continues to produce too much hormone for the body, which causes an increased risk of cancer. If caught early, the chances for a full recovery are good.
The exact cause of thyroid cancer isn't known, but certain potential risk factors have been established and include: a history of exposure to radiation, a family history of nodules, certain hereditary syndromes, and a bulge or mass, which is felt in the neck or throat. If you think you might have been exposed to radiation, you should schedule a biopsy to find out. Your medical professional will administer a simple test called a transvaginal ultrasound to find out if there is a benign or malignant growth in your thyroid nodule. If you do have a thyroid nodule with symptoms of cancer, the pathologist will be able to see it with the use of a computerized tomography scan called an anoscope.
Once the anoscope has found a tumor, the doctor will perform a surgical procedure to remove it. The procedure will be followed by radioactive iodine therapy to prevent further spread of the cancer. Unfortunately, this form of treatment will not give you a long term prognosis since the outlook for a full recovery is poor.
As mentioned above, some people who have high levels of stress or are undergoing some kind of hormonal therapy, may become susceptible to thyroid cancer. This is referred to as secondary hyperthyroidism and can occur in any person who is taking medications that affect the thyroid gland. Other potential risk factors include: a history of thyroid cancer in a previous family member, if the person develops signs or symptoms of the disease during his/her employment, if he/she had been exposed to radiation, or if the person develops the disease after the age of fifty-five. Some people who have a family history of the disease are at a greater risk of developing it, too.
Papillary thyroid cancer happens when the thyroid gland does not release enough thyroid hormones. Papillary thyroid cancer is most common in white collar workers whose job involves heavy lifting. However, it can also occur in people who live a sedentary lifestyle and/or those who lack physical activity. The disease is also more prevalent in women than in men.
One of the many possible causes of medullary thyroid cancer may be an incorrect diagnosis. For instance, in some instances, the wrong procedure used for thyroid surgery may lead to an unnecessary removal of the lymph nodes. If this occurs, there is a chance that the lymph nodes will develop cancerous cells, which will then migrate to the nearby organs such as the bladder or the heart. In either case, the affected organ will no longer be able to produce sufficient quantities of thyroid hormones, which leads to the patient's death from natural causes.
Another frequent cause of medullary thyroid cancer can be due to the presence of follicular cells within the body. These follicular cells are abnormal because they contain the wrong chromosomes. This condition, called polycystic anemia, can lead to the production of excess testosterone (the hormone that regulates metabolism and growth) and subsequently to the development of enlarged testes (ectopic testes). This excess testosterone will combine with estrogen (the hormone that regulates the menstrual cycle) to create a situation where the follicles will start to grow inappropriately. Excessive growth of follicular cells can eventually lead to the growth of large quantities of prostate cancer cells.
In order to prevent the occurrence of malignant thyroid nodules, patients are advised to control their blood sugar levels to the appropriate levels. They are also advised to watch for the appearance of any moles or signs of infection, especially in the genital area. Patients are also advised to undergo regular checkups with their health care providers, in order to monitor their health and to identify any potential health risks. Patients who are suspected of having malignant thyroid cancer are regularly monitored by medical professionals in order to determine if the disease has spread to other areas of the body or if the cancer has started to grow out of control.
Steve Schafer is the founder of TheEulogyWriters and the author of hundreds of heartfelt, wonderful eulogies. He lives in Michigan and has been writing eulogies for well over thirty years. The articles in this blog are designed to help people through the process of losing loved ones and exploring issues in the aging process.
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